Peru and Chile border dispute over sea intensifies

30 November 2005

Diplomatic tensions between Peru and Chile increased when the Peruvian Congress unanimously approved a bill that will grant Peru 38,000 sq km of fishing waters that are also claimed by Chile.

Chile currently controls the area and claims that the new law, signed by Toledo, violates treaties from the 1950's. It has launched a diplomatic campaign against the change in legislation.

Peruvian officials argue that the new sea border is legitimate - using a technical formula established by the UN convention on the Law of Sea - to bring it into line with the land borders. The current border cuts west horizontally across the Pacific; the new border would follow the land border and cut diagonally, allowing Peru to reclaim the disputed fishing waters.
At a time when relations between Peru and Chile are being tested by a request to extradite Fujimori from Chile, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos said Santiago "will continue to exercise full sovereignty" over the area.

This is not the first time they have clashed over sea borders. Between 1879 to 1883 in the War of the Pacific Chile took Bolivia's access to the sea and extensive waters from Peru.


All news

  • 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.

  • Why join the PSG?

    • Keep up to date with latest news and developments in Peru
    • Learn about key issues of poverty, development and human rights in Peru
    • Support the work of the Peru Support Group

    Become a member