200 Indigenous Conflicts Remain Unresolved in Argentina

indigenous, argentina, qom, mapuche, amnesty international, félix díaz, relmu ñamku

Photo: Mendoza Post

About 200 indigenous conflicts over territory, the environment, violence, evictions, legal status and criminalization remain unresolved in Argentina according to the latest report by Amnesty International which warns that the rights of these communities should be respected.

The annual report The Situation of Human Rights in the World 2015-2016 denounces the lack of resolution of approximately two hundred conflicts involving indigenous peoples of Argentina.

Amnesty notes that “although the Constitution recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands and the right to participate in the management of natural resources, these rights are rarely respected.”


“For years we have been warning about the need to work in the legislative field on laws related to the regulation of the right to free and informed prior consultation and community property,” said Mariela Belski, executive director of the international organization in Argentina.

One of the most important cases in 2015 was that of Félix Díaz, leader of La Primavera (Potae Napocna Navogoh), one of about a hundred Qom communities in the northern province of Formosa, which involves ongoing criminal proceedings in three separate, open cases from 2010 on charges of illegal land occupation, resisting arrest and theft.

VIDEO: February 26, 2015 – Félix Díaz & Qom Community Members Camp in Buenos Aires in Fight for Human Rights

In October, Relmu Ñamku of the Winkul Newen Mapuche community faced another high-profile case in the province of Neuquen. She was indicted on trumped up charges after resisting an unlawful eviction in her ancestral territory and was acquitted on charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. Ñamku was accused of attempted murder for throwing a stone during a territorial conflict against US oil and faced up to 15 years in prison.

indigenous, argentina, qom, mapuche, amnesty international, félix díaz, relmu ñamku

Photo: Amnistía Internacional @Gustavo Figueroa

Ñamku’s case was the first criminal trial in the region that had an intercultural jury (6 jurists were Mapuche) and simultaneous translation in mapudzungún, the native language of the Mapuche people.

The report also highlighted other issues such as the difficulties women and girls encounter to access legal abortions and LGBTI rights, specifically citing three transgender women who were murdered in 2015. In the cases of Daiana Sacayán, Marcela Chocobar and Coty Olmos, no one has been held accountable for their murders.

Amnesty International praised the ongoing public trials for crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983 which resulted in 8 new convictions bringing the total number of convicted between 2006 and 2015 to 142.

According to the live map of Argentina, available on the Territorio Indígena website, sixteen provinces currently have indigenous conflicts of various kinds.

Provinces with ongoing indigenous conflicts include: Buenos Aires (30 cases); Misiones (23); Jujuy (19) and Neuquén (18) are the provinces with most conflicts; followed by Formosa (17); Chubut (15); Salta (12); Río Negro (12); Córdoba (10); Catamarca (10); Santiago del Estero (10); Tucumán (6); Chaco (4); San Juan (2); and La Pampa and Mendoza, with one case in each province.

Provinces with the most territorial conflicts are: Buenos Aires (24); Misiones (18); Neuquén (14); Chubut (11); Río Negro (10); Jujuy (9); Formosa (9); Salta (5); Santiago del Estero (5); Chaco (3); Catamarca (3); San Juan (2); La Pampa (1); Mendoza (1) and Tucumán (1).

Amnesty International: The Situation of Human Rights in the World 2015-2106 (PDF)
Argentina Independent: The Qom Protest Nobody is Listening To
Pagina 12
Mendoza Post


About Author

Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.