Argentina: Missing protester Santiago Maldonado found dead; activist supported Mapuche indigenous peoples' claim to Benetton-owned land

Santiago Maldonado was last seen alive on 1st August, after clashes between Mapuche indigenous communities and the National Argentinean Guard that evicted them from lands owned by Benetton. The Mapuches claim part of these lands as ancestral territory. Several human rights organizations have asked the government to investigate the case. Missing activist's body was later found and identified by his brother on 20th October 2017. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Benetton to respond; the company did not.

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Company non-response
1 November 2017

Benetton did not respond regarding identification of a body of a missing activist

Article
1 November 2017

Santiago Maldonado: Argentina activist's body identified

Author: BBC News

Forensic experts in Argentina have identified the body of a young activist, Santiago Maldonado, who had been missing since 1 August.He disappeared after a confrontation with police at an indigenous rights protest in Patagonia. His body was found in a nearby river on Tuesday. The authorities said he drowned and there was no sign of violence. Maldonado's disappearance has become highly politicised ahead of Sunday's congressional elections. The opposition blamed security agents for his death and accused the government of Mauricio Macri of covering up the crime... His brother recognised the body after seeing his tattoos on Friday. Later on Friday, Judge Gustavo Lleral confirmed as he left the morgue that the body was that of the 28-year-old activist. Maldonado was last seen after he was arrested at a demonstration for the rights of the Mapuche indigenous group in southern Argentina on 1 August... Human rights campaigners, union leaders and left-wing groups had called on President Macri's government, which has denied allegations of a cover-up, to do more to find him... Justice Minister Germán Garavano claimed the result of the autopsy should lay to rest some of the accusations levelled at the government by activists.

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Article
31 October 2017

Argentina finds body thought to be Santiago Maldonado

Author: Al Jazeera

Argentine political parties have suspended campaigning for legislative elections after the discovery of a body thought to be that of a missing activist who disappeared two months ago during a police operation. Rights groups said Santiago Maldonado, 27, was last seen being detained by paramilitary police as they moved to disperse a protest march by the Mapuche indigenous group in Chabut, about 1,800km southwest of Buenos Aires, on August 1.Both government and opposition parties suspended campaigning for legislative elections as the body was being brought to Buenos Aires for formal identification and an autopsy at the request of the Maldonado family... The protesters were demanding the release of a jailed Mapuche indigenous leader and the return of lands belonging to the Italian clothing company Benetton that are claimed by the Mapuche as their ancestral territory.People at the protest said they saw police beat and detain Maldonado after he and others blocked a road.

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Company non-response
27 August 2017

Benetton non-response on "disappearance" of activist in Argentina

Article
13 August 2017

“Argentina Unites to Demand Return of Santiago Maldonado”

Author: TeleSur TV

13 August 2017

…Social movement activists and human rights defenders gathered in Argentina’s famous Plaza de Mayo with photos of Santiago Maldonado, the activist who is said to have disappeared over two weeks ago during a raid by the military police in a Mapuche town…Organization leaders, Horacio Verbitsky of the Center for Legal and Social Studies read from a document signed by 13 human rights groups…"The only thing certain is that the National Gendarmerie (military police) carried out a brutal repression against the community without any judicial order," Verbitsky told the crowd…According to the family lawyer presiding over the case, “Instead of looking for the perpetrators, the victim is still being investigated," explained attorney Veronica Heredia. “Computers were not taken or documented ... There are important measures that are not being considered.” …Maldonado was last seen during a military police eviction operation against the Pu Lof Mapuche community in the Chubut department of Cushamen. Witnesses say they saw officers shove the young man into a van and drive away…Maldonado's family blame the military police for the young man’s disappearance but the government denies its involvement.

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Article
8 August 2017

“Argentina activist missing after indigenous people evicted from Benetton land”

Author: The Guardian

August 8th, 2017

Argentina’s government has offered a reward for information about the whereabouts of a missing activist who was last seen when security forces evicted a group of Mapuche Indians from lands in Patagonia owned by the Italian clothing company Benetton…Maldonado’s disappearance has cast a fresh light on the simmering conflict between the Mapuche indigenous people and Benetton, which owns a swath of territory larger than Luxembourg where it grazes sheep to produce wool…The Mapuches claim part of the Benetton-owned land as ancestral territory and the conflict has often erupted into violent protest…

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