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
http://dhsf-cusco.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/representante-del-ministerio-de-asuntos.html?spref=fb

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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.

  • 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.

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