Some justice for women?

17 December 2018

In the past couple of weeks, women’s rights campaigners in Peru have had cause for celebration as the judiciary has taken steps to redress two notorious cases.

On 13 December, the High Court of Lima North decided in the case of Arlette Contreras. In 2015 she was the victim of abuse by her ex-partner Adrian Pozo. Her case became especially notorious because footage emerged of her running away from a naked Pozo at the reception of a hotel, and then seeking shelter from him only for him to grab her and drag her by the hair back to their room.

The case galvanised in Peru the protest known in Latin America as #niunamenos (not one less), a movement that preceded the #metoo movement by at least a year. It led to the largest protest ever seen in Lima; more than 700,000 women took to the streets in August 2015. Since then, the court in Ayacucho, where the events happened and where Pozo is a well-known business man, decided in his favour.

Contreras then sought redress in a higher court. Pozo initially spent eleven months in jail after the attack pending trial but was freed in July 2016. Fresh trial proceedings began in November 2016, and he was declared innocent by the court in Ayacucho in February 2018. Contreras then appealed to the High Court in Lima. The court decided to annul the previous sentence that had declared Pozo innocent and a new process has begun. 

Contreras, who is a lawyer and was named one of the hundred most influential women by Time magazine, received this month the human rights award from the British Embassy in Lima.

Also on 13 November, the case against those responsible for the forced sterilisation of women during the 1990s (ex-president Alberto Fujimori and his health ministers) was reopened

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  • 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.

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    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. 

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    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.

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