Warning of 'neocon' threat to rights as review launched

12 December 2013

Efforts to achieve truth, justice and reconciliation in the wake of Peru’s internal conflict (1980-2000) are under threat from a neoconservative backlash, a member of Congress has warned. Rosa Mávila said that, “We must reclaim the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its role for the political life of the country.”

Her comments were made at the 9 December launch of the annual human rights review produced by the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos coalition. Polls have shown falling support for former president Alberto Fujimori’s conviction for human rights crimes committed during his 1990s administration. The director of the Coordinadora, Rocío Silva Santisteban, called for national attention to the “scandalous number of reported human rights crimes that have not reached court”, including more than 1000 cases in Ayacucho. Only a third of reparations for victims of terrorism have yet been paid out.

Santisteban also noted that the national human rights plan, which was due to run from 2012-2016, had still not been published.

At the launch, Congresswoman Verónika Mendoza expressed concern that the causes of social and environmental conflicts had dropped down the political agenda, but they had not been resolved. She rejected recent statements by ministers and business leaders that prior consultation of indigenous peoples on projects affecting them was an ‘obstacle’ to investment, pointing out that it was a constitutionally-based right.

The report also raised concerns about the criminalisation of protest, a lack of protection for Peru’s sexual minorities, and failures to uphold reproductive rights. A recent UN report on indigenous women criticised their continuing social ‘invisibility’, which authors said leads to “unacceptable gaps in access to health, security, education and rights to land for millions of indigenous women throughout Latin America." Rates of maternal mortality in the mostly indigenous region of Puno were 45 per cent higher than the national rate in 2011, according to the report.

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