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ACTION ALERT: Demand respect for human rights protesters in Chile

Mexico City-based Blue Planet Project organizer Claudia Campero Arena tells us, “Chilean citizens and organizations struggling against the HidroAysen Project have encountered police repression, but have a great national mobilization going. Today and Saturday there will be activities all around Chile. We urgently need to make Chilean authorities aware that we are watching and demand respect for human rights.”

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated last week, “Canadians support democracy, freedom of expression, and responsible environmental stewardship at home and around the world. But most Canadians have no idea that their pension plans are fuelling the kind of environmental destruction planned in Chile. In a global world, what can seem far away may be very close to home. Canadians must stand with the people of Chile in opposing this terrible project and condemning the undemocratic and violent actions of the state.”

Campero Arena is asking that we send e-mails with the subject line ‘Exigimos respeto a derechos humanos de manifestantes’ (‘We demand respect for human rights protesters’). That e-mail should go to presidencia@presidencia.cl; opinion@presidencia.cl; Internet@presidencia.cl; gestionypartes@presidencia.cl; minrel@minrel.cl; magonzalez@minrel.gov.cl; chilesus@chilesustentable.net; and the Chilean embassy in Canada at echileca@chile.ca.

You are asked to cut and paste the letter (in Spanish) into your e-mail. The approximate English translation follows:


El mundo está observando a Chile por el proyecto hidroeléctrico HidroAysén que pretende llevarse a cabo en Patagonia. Dicho proyecto aportaría 2.750 MW al Sistema Interconectado Central (SIC), con un costo cercano a los US$ 7.500 millones y generaría, al menos, 3 millones 770 mil toneladas de emisiones de CO2. De construirse las represas propuestas los impactos sociales y ambientales para la región serían profundos e irreparables.

El pasado lunes 9 de mayo, la policía chilena disolvió violentamente con bombas lacrimógenas, carros lanza-agua y lanza-gases a centenares de ambientalistas que protestaron en la capital de Chile y otras ciudades contra el proyecto hidroeléctrico HidroAysén. En Santiago, la capital del país, 2 mil personas se manifestaron pacíficamente en contra del proyecto y fueron reprimidas con el saldo de 200 personas detenidas. Las imágenes de la policía golpeando a manifestantes evidencian la brutalidad de la represión y han recorrido no sólo el continente sino tambien otras latitudes.

Las organizaciones internacionales estamos profundamente preocupadas por las violaciones a los derechos humanos de las personas que legítimamente han mostrado su desacuerdo con el proyecto HidroAysén. Es inadmisible que el gobierno chileno reprima a personas que están ejerciendo su derecho a la libertad de expresión. Estamos al tanto de la gran movilización que se realizará el 20 y 21 de mayo en todo Chile y en otras ciudades del mundo. Exigimos el respeto a los derechos humanos de todas y todos y estaremos atentos al desarrollo de los hechos.


The world is watching to Chile HidroAysén hydroelectric project that aims to take place in Patagonia. This project would provide 2,750 MW to the Central Interconnected System (SIC), at a cost of about U.S. $ 7,500 million and would generate at least 3 million 770 thousand tons of CO2 emissions. Proposed dams constructed social and environmental impacts for the region would be profound and irreparable.

On Monday 9 May, the Chilean police violently broke up with tear gas, water cannon and launching gases hundreds of environmentalists who protested in the capital of Chile and other cities against HidroAysén hydroelectric project. In Santiago, the capital of the country, 2 000 people demonstrated peacefully against the project and were met with the balance of 200 detainees. Images of police beating demonstrators show the brutality of the repression and have come not only the continent but also elsewhere.

International organizations are deeply concerned about violations of human rights of people who legitimately have disagreed with the HidroAysén project. It is unacceptable that the Chilean government repress people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression. We are aware of the great mobilization to be held on 20 and 21 May in Chile and in other cities. We demand respect for human rights of everyone and look forward to developing the facts.

For more information on the HidroAysen project which threatens Patagonia, please go to http://canadians.org/media/water/2011/12-May-11.html.