Faced by mounting protests and a 110-day-long hunger strike by a jailed indigenous rights activist, Chile's government has
agreed to create a high commission for the rights of the indigenous Mapuche communities. The commission will work with the
parliament to achieve full constitutional recognition of the native people.
Activist Patricia Troncoso called-off her hunger strike on January 31 after hearing the announcement. Troncoso, along with other activists, was imprisoned in 2002 on charges of terrorist arson on a pine plantation that officially belongs to a logging company, but is claimed by the Mapuche as their ancestral land. The Mapuche say they have been conserving the rare Araucaria forests in southern Chile from time immemorial and claim the forests as the ancestral territory.
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