Rapa Nui

The Rapa Nui Quest for Self-Determination

In the fall, we reported that four Rapa Nui leaders were arrested for trying to manage their sacred sites and preventing an illegal search of Rapa Nui Parliament offices. Those who were arrested have been released from custody, but the two Rirorokos are still dealing with travel restrictions that prevent them from leaving the island without Chile’s approval. In addition, Chile has launched investigations against three more people, although no arrests have been made yet.

Call for immediate release of Rapa Nui leaders

August 28, 2015 —

Chilean police have arrested and jailed three prominent Rapa Nui leaders following protests Aug. 26, 2015, against an illegal search of the Rapa Nui Parliament offices. Eliza Riroroko was arrested on Easter Island and faces a 120 day hold in Chilean custody.  Eliza’s father, Matias Riroroko, was taken into custody in Santiago, Chile. In addition, the president of the Rapa Nui Parliament, Leviante Araki, was also arrested when he attempted to enter a Rapa Nui sacred site on Aug. 27.

Help Support and Protect the Rapa Nui People

The Rapa Nui people have been fighting for self-determination since the Chilean annexation in 1888.

Rapa Nui culture and heritage are known around the world, especially the statues or Moai and the ahus, which are the sacred burial places of the Rapa Nui people, and they are a part of the cultural heritage of humanity.

Unchecked Chilean immigration to the island has become unsustainable due to limited natural resources on the island. Making matters worse, Chilean authorities have not adequately preserved the ancestral sites.  

Rapa Nui leader asks UN body to help protect rights

Rapa Nui leader, Santi Hitorangi, addressed the UN Human Rights Council on Sept. 18, 2015, in Geneva, seeking international support for the Rapa Nui’s right of self-determination and decolonization from Chile. “We, the Rapa Nui people, continue to fight for our right of self-determination, for protection and management of the Moai, our sacred burial sites, for regulation of immigration to our island, and the decolonization of our territory,” stated Santi Hitorangi, member of the Hitorangi Clan.

Nación Rapa Nui continúa en su lucha por reivindicación de sus tierras ancestrales

El domingo 6 de febrero, miembros del clan Hito de la Nación Rapa Nui fueron desalojados del Hotel Hanga Roa, ubicado en sus tierras ancestrales. El desalojo tomo lugar dos días antes de la formalización de 17 Rapa Nui por participar en el re-tomo de sus tierras. Según la vocera del clan Hito, Marisol Hito, manifestó que "por la vía de los hechos consumados, el gobierno del Presidente Sebastián Piñera, y su ministro de Interior, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, han intentado consagrar -con el desalojo ilegal de hoy- la más importante norma no escrita de la institucionalidad chilena: el poder económico está por sobre las leyes, los pueblos y el bien común. Y eso es inaceptable".

Akaka, Faleomavaega urge President of Chile to seek peaceful resolution to standoff in Rapa Nui

February 4, 2011 -- U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka of (D-Hawaii) and Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa) sent letters to Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressing their concern over forced evictions being carried in Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, by Chilean armed forces.

Commentary: Seeking A Peaceful Solution for the Rapa Nui Nation

December 15, 2010 -- Wiggings asks for help to put international pressure on the Government of Chile to resolve the conflict peacefully through the Inter-American system.  American Indian leaders, community leaders and individuals concerned about the violation of collective human rights should contact Chilean authorities, and also ask the White House and the State Department to take a stand against these violent evictions.

Chile has international responsibility to observe Rapa Nui human rights

December 10, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. --  The international community should be outraged by the human rights violations taking place on Rapa Nui Island, also known as "Easter Island," according to experts at the Indian Law Resource Center.


A long history of dispute over indigenous rights and unresolved land issues escalated to violence on December 3, 2010.   Chilean police forcibly evicted members of the Tuko Tuki clan, which led to significant injuries for more than 20 members. The unarmed clan members were beaten and shot with rubber bullets.


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