Protecting the Rapa Nui from further violence

Protest clashes as indigenous Rapa Nui push for rights on Rapa Nui Island

Free Speech Radio News interview with Armstrong Wiggins, director of the Indian Law Resource Center's Washington, D.C. office
Monday, January 3, 2011 -- And now we head to the Southern Pacific Ocean and the remote island of Rapa Nui, also called Easter Island.

This was the scene last week, as indigenous islanders clashed with Chilean security forces.  Rapa Nui is a “special territory” of Chile.  In the late 1800’s the indigenous population was sold as slaves.  Later they were confined to a single settlement on the island, while the government rented the rest of the land out as a sheep farm.  It wasn’t until 1966 that the residents were given citizenship status and allowed to leave the settlement.

The recent clashes are a continuation of years of conflict over indigenous human rights and territory issues.  Video of the latest incident was posted by the Washington-based Indian Law Resource Center.  The Center’s DC Director, Armstrong Wiggins, joins FSRN today.


Human rights are at the center of a brutal dispute taking place on Rapa Nui Island, commonly known as "Easter Island," off the coast of Chile. The Rapa Nui people are seeking to reclaim their ancestral lands and they are being met with violent evictions by the Chilean government.  The Indian Law Resource Center has already asked for help from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  Leonardo Crippa, Center staff attorney, was interviewed on radio out of Chile.  Crippa says the government has not responded to inquiries from the Inter-American Commission about the evictions.

Click to hear the full interview in Spanish.

Abogado de clanes rapanui acusó "absoluto silencio" del Gobierno ante la CIDH

Leonardo Crippa dijo que no han respondido al pedido de información sobre situación en Isla de Pascua. Chile tenía hasta este martes para responder por el violento desalojo del viernes, indicó.