Defending the defenders: human rights defenders at risk

06 November 2016

A just-published Oxfam document draws attention to the plight of human rights defenders in Latin America. Although Peru is probably not the worst-afflicted country in this respect, it certainly is a growing problem there. The report highlights the plight of women in defending human rights, especially in defending community rights against the inroads made by mining companies. It mentions the case, for example, of Maxima Acuña in Cajamarca who has been at the receiving end of harassment from Minera Yanacocha. The report thus seeks to identify as human rights defenders a wide range of voices in civil society, not just NGOs. It relates the problem of intimidation and threats to what it sees as the ‘capture of democracy’ by powerful agents in the business world. The report ends with a number of wide-ranging recommendations. See

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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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