9 Dec 2010

Chile government has forgotten to respect international law, says senator

6:51 pm on 9 December 2010

A senator in the Chilean parliament says the government of Sebastien Pinera seems to have forgotten to respect international laws on human rights in its dealings with indigenous people on Rapa Nui, or Easter Island.

The comment follows a violent confrontation last week between Chilean special forces and members of the Rapa Nui community occupying premises they say were built on land taken from them in the 19th century.

Dozens of people were injured when the authorities used rubber bullets on the occupiers.

Juan Pablo Letelier says what he describes as police brutality could have been avoided.

"The government's reaction in my opinion has not been satisfactory thinking what the interests are of the Rapa Nui community and what the permanent interests are of Chile to be a respectful nation of indigenous people's rights."

A Chilean senator, Juan Pablo Letelier.