Human rights defenders 'on dangerous ground'

10 July 2016

A new report by Global Witness ( covers 16 countries, documenting violence against human rights defenders in 2015. Peru has the fourth highest number of documented activist deaths. Twelve people lost their lives last year, of which eleven were related to mining or other extractive activities. Since 2002, 80% of the 69 people killed in Peru were linked to extractives. Peru is 'outranked' in the absolute number of deaths only by Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia.

General concerns highlighted (but pertinent to Peru) include the criminalisation of HR defenders, police impunity, and the “blind eye” cast towards corruption, illegality and environmental degradation. The attacks and death threats suffered last January by Osinfor, the official body that investigates forest crimes, and the sacking of its director, are highlighted.

The Global Witness report text is careful to explain the limitations of the material accessed, and the report states that “our data on killings is likely to be an underestimate of the problem as many deaths go unreported, especially in remote, isolated areas. We have identified and verified cases through a systematic review of online public information but, in some cases, it was impossible to gather sufficient details to verify the events.” The facts for Peru come from familiar and reliable sources, above all the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos.

This is not original research, but is important in the comparative perspective it offers. It provides a ‘wake-up call’ to the incoming government as it looks to foster extractives as a motor of growth over the next decade
(see also ).

All articles

  • PSG Aims

    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

  • Historical Overview

    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

  • Human Rights

    Human rights violations were widespread during the twenty years after the initiation of armed conflict in 1980. Efforts to convict perpetrators since the war's end have made only limited progress. Today, concerns remain over the treatment of those engaged in social protest, particularly against strategically important investment projects.

  • Why join the PSG?

    • Keep up to date with latest news and developments in Peru
    • Learn about key issues of poverty, development and human rights in Peru
    • Support the work of the Peru Support Group

    Become a member