Lords hosts public meeting on human rights and access to justice in Peru
26 July 2015
On Tuesday 7 July the Peru Support Group (PSG) and Cafod, the Catholic development agency organised a meeting held at the House of Lords. The Chair was Baroness Jean Coussins, the PSG president. The main speaker was Jaime Borda, director of Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras, a human rights NGO based in Cusco. DHSF was formerly part of the Vicaría de Sicuani, an agency of the Catholic Church in the region.
The Baroness opened the proceedings with a short account of the human rights situation in Espinar, where the local population has encountered many problems with the mining company Xstrata (now Glencore Xstrata) and its operations at Tintaya. Jaime presented personal testimony on how he and his colleagues were illegally detained and abused in 2012 when they attempted to help workers in Espinar protest against the actions of the company. Three years on, he still faces the possibility of charges being brought.
Other speakers included John Fox, representing the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and Graham Gordon, Head of Public Policy at Cafod.
Fox emphasized the importance of the on-going revision of the UK's Action Plan for Business and Human Rights, arguing that it was important to afford greater security to human rights defenders in the extractives sector. A first draft of the revised plan should be presented to parliament in October.
Gordon also focused on the opportunity represented by the revision of the plan to insist on better protection for human rights defenders. He stressed the need to give poor communities affected by mining adequate protection as well as secure and effective access to justice. Such steps, he claimed, were necessary to support communities in their legitimate expression of grievance.
The press release issued by the DHSF is available at