- Peru Support Group
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The Peru Support Group is an independent NGO that works with Peruvian groups and an international network to defend human rights, promote social inclusion and strengthen democracy.
- Peru’s rural, campesino and indigenous communities remain disproportionately much poorer than the rest of society. Although poverty rates have decreased substantially in the last decade (from 58.7% in 2004 to 22.7% in 2014 according to official figures), the percentage of people living in poverty is still larger in rural areas, particularly where Indigenous communities live and also in some areas where extractive industries operate. 48.8% of poverty is concentrated in rural areas, which represent nearly a quarter of the total population in Peru. Growth projections are vulnerable to uncertain external economic conditions, such as the prices of commodities, as well as natural environmental risks, such as the effects of El Niño on agricultural production and access to basic services.
- Social and environmental conflict continues to be prevalent in the country, with reports
of use of excessive force by security forces an issue of concern. According to the
Ombudsman’s office, 58 civilians died and over 1,000 people were injured in clashes
between security forces and protesters between 2012 and 2015. Impunity is the norm in
cases where police and security forces are involved in dealing with protests. In January
2014, a law was passed that effectively makes it impossible to hold police officers
accountable for those who use lethal force unlawfully.
Social conflict is also often triggered by the failure of the authorities to effectively involve indigenous communities in prior consultation. Although Peru adopted a law on consultation in 2012, there are still concerns about its implementation: who gets consulted, how agreements or decisions are reached, and how these are implemented in practice. Frustration over lack of adequate consultation and lack of inclusion often precipitates conflict.
- Human rights defenders and community leaders often face routine legal harassment, especially when they are perceived to being involved in social protests. Activists that work for the protection of the environment, land and territories, particularly around sites where natural resources are extracted, are most at risk.
- Peru is one of the three most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, with its water supply largely dependent on Andean glaciers. Access to water is frequently an aggravating factor in disputes over extractives.
The UK connection
As an international financial centre and the home to major mining corporations, the UK plays a critical role in Peru. The UK is the second biggest foreign investor in Peru. The British government also wields power in international institutions like the G8, World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Union, making it a major player in rules on transparency, human rights and trade.
What we do
- Drawing on our international network of expert researchers and grassroots groups, we produce rigorous research and organise events to inform, debate and improve policy.
- From our base in London, we work with allies in Peru and across Europe to advocate positive change and ensure governments and corporations are held to account..
- We draw attention to poverty and human rights issues in Peru by providing timely news and analysis to an international network of policymakers, researchers and civil society groups.
History and achievements
The Peru Support Group was established 30 years ago, when people in southern Peru faced human rights violations on a daily basis during the internal conflict, which left 70,000 people dead. The PSG played a major role in bringing those abuses to public attention in the UK and other European countries. We have since been intimately involved in the process of researching and disseminating the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which exposed the extent of human rights violations.
In the 1980s, the PSG was active in groundbreaking attempts to renegotiate Peruvian debt and to channel resources into poverty relief. During the 1990s, alongside a variety of organisations elsewhere in Europe, we highlighted democratic transgressions during the Fujimori period, providing a platform for Peruvian activists to campaign for the restoration of democracy.
Since the fall of Fujimori in 2000, we have played a key role in exposing the problems associated with extractive industries, particularly in the mining sector. The report of the PSG parliamentary delegation to the Río Blanco mine, owned by the British company Monterrico Metals, was instrumental in defending the rights of peasant communities in northern Peru. As a result of PSG involvement, local communities won an important out-of-court settlement compensating them for human rights violations.
Who we are
The Peru Support Group is run on a day-to- day basis by the coordinator, Ana Reyes-Hurt. Ana conducts our parliamentary and other lobbying work, with a focus on human rights, extractive industries and human rights defenders. Prior to joining the PSG, Ana worked in the Americas region of Amnesty International, specialising in the recognition and protection of human rights defenders across Latin America and the Caribbean. She has been working for the PSG for over two years.
The president of the Peru Support Group is Baroness Coussins, a crossbencher in the House of Lords with a background in equality campaigning and corporate social responsibility. The vice-president is Rosemary Thorp, emeritus fellow at the Oxford University Latin American Centre, specialist in economic inequality and former chair of Oxfam GB.
The elected steering committee provides advice and oversight and comprises:
- Isabel Crabtree-Condor, Knowledge Hub on Governance and Citizenship, Oxfam Netherlands
- John Crabtree, research associate at the Oxford University Latin American Centre, specialist in Andean politics
- Judith Condor Vidal, director of Trading for Development
- Nuria Garcia, former Amnesty International Peru researcher and freelance human rights consultant
- Tom Pegram (Secretary), deputy director of the Institute of Global Governance at University College London
- Natalia Sobrevilla, professor of Latin American History, Kent University
- Andrea Steel, Amnesty International Secretariat
- Tim Thorp (Treasurer), retired civil servant
The Peru Support Group is an independent, non-profit organisation currently funded by CAFOD, our members and volunteer fundraisers.
Peru Support Group sponsors
Lord Brenan QC
Ann Clwyd MP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Reverend Ed O'Connell
Professor William Rowe
Rosemary Thorp CBE