Commissioners: Felipe Gonzalez, José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez, Tracy Robinson
Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH)
State: State of Peru

“Issues from the past leave their mark and become issues of the present,” explained Rocío Silva Santisteban of Peru’s Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH). On Monday, March 26, 2012, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a thematic hearing regarding the human rights situation in Peru. The State of Peru was represented by Dr. Juan Federico Jiménez Mayor, the Minister of Justice and Human Rights.

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos began by commending the new Humala administration’s advances in human rights, specifically the creation of a Vice-Ministry of Human Rights, Peru’s first National Human Rights Plan, and the inclusion of femicide in the national criminal code. However, the petitioner noted concerns regarding the criminalization of protest, the collusion between police forces and multinational corporations, the implementation of the Prior Consultation Law to include the indigenous communities in environmental decisions, reparations payments to victims of the internal conflict, and sexual violence. The petitioner noted that the number of protest victims of police brutality had fallen dramatically since President Humala’s election, but that the State has not yet investigated any complaint or punished any officer. The petitioner also expressed concern over the previous administration’s prioritization of reparations payments for certain groups and spoke of a “final point” for reconciliation. The petitioner concluded by offering a series of recommendations: reform the laws regarding police conduct during social protests and investigate past abuses; make the Prior Consultation Law effective through further rulemaking; modify the reparations policy by incorporating sexual violence victims and dispensing all reparations equally; prevent, investigate, and condemn violence against women and LGBTI individuals by establishing a prevention policy targeted at men and machismo; develop a protocol for hospitals to administer legal therapeutic abortions; implement sensitivity training for health workers, especially those that work with HIV-positive patients; and criminalize hate crimes.

The State of Peru emphasized the Humala administration’s prioritization of human rights, as well as its respect for democratic institutions, international law, human rights, transparency, and civil society. The State reminded the Commission that the previous administration did not have a human rights policy and barely advanced in its reparations and national reconciliation. The State also noted that “human rights divide Peruvians,” and that the Commission should keep this sensitivity in mind. The State promoted Peru’s first-ever National Human Rights Plan and its desire to work with civil society to implement it. The State shared the petitioner’s concern about the previous administration’s prioritization of certain classes of victims in providing reparations, and promised to modify the policy and submit it for congressional approval by the beginning of next month. It reassured the Commission that Peru does not have a “final point” reconciliation policy, and that protest is not criminalized, and agreed that any complaints of police abuses during protests should be denounced and investigated.

Commissioner José de Jesús Orozco Henríquez congratulated the State on its significant advances, but expressed concern over the police’s abuse of force and prioritization of certain groups in reparations. He congratulated the State for passing the Prior Consultation Law, but noted that it still needed to be implemented. Commissioner Tracy Robinson asked for more information on the collusion of police and the mining industry. She also asked whether sexual violence was fully integrated into the National Human Rights Plan, and requested more information about the State’s strategy to combat sexual violence, the status of the gender equity plan, and whether the plan includes the LGBT community. She was intrigued by the State’s assertion that human rights divide Peruvians, and asked whether the Plan includes human rights education. Commissioner Felipe Gonzalez reiterated the Commission’s commitment to the disappeared, and asked how the State will continue to investigate disappeared persons.

The State promised to respond to all concerns in writing, and emphasized that protest is not criminalized in Peru. Nevertheless, the State noted that some judicial policies are used to protect police from investigation and prosecution, and that the State is working to reform these policies. The State also noted that while “Peru is a mining country,” mining is harmful to the environment and the industry is affiliated with organized crime and arms and human trafficking in some regions. The State expressed its desire to motivate the international community around environmental rights. Finally, the State repeated that it is working to make the Prior Consultation Law effective, but that the first step is to identify the indigenous groups in Peru, which is a politically complicated task.