UK visit by Esperanza Huayama
01 July 2017
On 19 June, Esperanza Huayama arrived in London. She is a human rights defender and president of the association of forcibly sterilised women in the province of Huancabamba (Piura). She is also vice-president of the national association. Documentary maker Ines Ruiz, who is currently completing a PhD at the University of Kent, accompanied her.
On 21 June, they presented a documentary on forced sterilisation, as well as the Quipu project, at the UK offices of Amnesty International. They were accompanied by Graham Minter from Amnesty UK and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea from the University of Kent and the Peru Support Group. On 22 June, they visited parliament where they met Baroness Jean Cousins, president of the Peru Support Group, as well as Nichole Piche the coordinator of the All Parliamentary Group on Human Rights. They also met Gender and Human Rights NGO Equality Now and, on 23 June, had a meeting with CAFOD. On 26 June they met the Peru desk officer at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The meetings were an opportunity for Esperanza to speak about her own case, as well as to seek support from the British Government and NGOs, as well as the general public, to highlight the need to access justice and receive reparations.
Among the issues discussed was the national register of victims established by the Humala administration in November 2015. Although cases of forced sterilisation have been enumerated and more than 3,000 victims identified so far, there is little clarity about what will happen next. President Kuczynski has met with the victims group and has promised to have the register functioning soon, but it remains unclear when this will happen. The aim of campaigners is therefore to draw attention to the issue and thus pressure the government to honour its commitments.
Esperanza’s tour also included academic events at the University of Kent in Canterbury on 28 June, and at King’s College, London, where she took part in a debate on ‘Feminist Perspectives on Commemoration, Symbolic Reparations and the Arts’ on 30 June. She was due to talk at the University of Bristol on 4 July and, in the days remaining, to be interviewed on the BBC World Service and Women’s Hour.