21 Feb 2011

Chilean delegation to meet Rapa Nui leaders

5:39 am on 21 February 2011

A senior Chilean delegation is to meet Rapa Nui leaders on Easter Island for two days to help improve relations between Santiago and indigenous groups upset by Chile's policies.

This comes amid protracted disagreements over land ownership which has led to occupations by Rapa Nui and subsequent evictions by the security forces.

The delegation is led by the education minister, Joaquin Lavin, who is to raise such issues as migration from the mainland, land problems and the island's administrative status within Chile.

At the weekend, the owners of the Hanga Roa hotel, which had been occupied by Rapa Nui for months, have said they will give the land it was built on to a foundation run by Rapa Nui for a 30-year period.

However, the announcement has angered the clan claiming the site is on its ancestral land, saying it is stupid and shows a lack of respect to try to give away the clan's land.