Empowering indigenous communities of Villarrica and Licanray

This project focuses on empowering the Mapuches, one of the most important indigenous communities in Chile, about their rights through informative courses and legal advice regarding environmental issues.  Different activities such as the pisciculture and unauthorized projects are affecting the Chesque zone, which is populated mainly by indigenous communities. 

A Mapuche settlement in the Cautin Province, IX Region of Chile, has been affected by the emission of pollutants into the river channel, the management of the disposal of solid construction waste and the use of medication for the fish. This community is unprotected and uninformed about how can enforce their rights. Therefore, FIMA developed a campaign to advise the indigenous communities in the area of Villarica and Licanray on the drafting and presenting of an injunction before the Environmental Agency (SMA). As a result, every verified infraction was reported to the SMA and an extensive investigation is carried out. In addition, during November 2014, FIMA developed a two-day training workshop in environmental education and empowerment for the community, which was very successful.

The objectives were:

  • To ensure the awareness of the legal instruments available for the community.
  • To guarantee the protection and the safeguarding of their environmental and indigenous rights.
  • To include the community in the process and encourage the participation.

At the end of the course a forum was held to discuss all the topics, make questions and reflect about further directions. In addition, regulation and indigenous consultation were covered.

This campaign will continue with the aim to inform all the communities, and it is expected another session will be organized dedicated to the knowledge of water rights and how to protect them, and the paths available for environmental justice.

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