Processes and Failures of (prior) Consultations to Indigenous Peoples in Chile
In 2008, the first mandate of President Michelle Bachelet and the (much, delayed) ratification of the ILO Convention No.169 by Chile relaunched the debate on indigenous rights throughout the country. In particular, it focused on their right to consultation. Since then, Chile has held a number of consultations to indigenous peoples. Few know that some of these consultations addressed the very same issues along the years. This is the case of the consultations on the constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples, and the creation of a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples and of a National Council and (other) Councils of Indigenous Peoples. The nine indigenous peoples of Chile were consulted five times on some or all these same questions: (twice) in 2009, in 2011, in late 2014-early 2015, and in 2017. Furthermore, the legislation over the regulation of this right has considerably changed over the years, creating further confusion and overlays. Indeed, the 2016 draft law to create a Ministry was eventually rejected (Bulletin/Boletín 10525-06), while the one on the National Council and (other) Councils of Indigenous Peoples (Bulletin/Boletín 10526-06) is pending since January 2016. And, it remains to be seen whether they will put forward the constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples and their rights under the current (second) mandate of President Sebastián Piñera. Against this background, this paper analyses the process and the results of selected cases of consultations to indigenous peoples in Chile, and it explores the reasons for their failures.