The Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL), the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH) and US-based EarthRights International have released a report “Convenios entre la Policía Nacional y las empresas extractivas en el Perú” that analyses in detail the content of 138 agreements between the Peruvian police and extractive companies since they were first introduced in 1995. Of the 138 contracts documented, 29 are currently valid.

Through a series of norms, the latest being the Ley de Regimen de Personal de la PNP (Law No 28857) of 2006, the PNP is allowed to make agreements with private companies so that police personnel can provide “extraordinary complementary services” while on vacation in exchange for a cash payment both to those providing the services and to the PNP.

Ever since then, civil society organisations have argued that such contracts contravene international and national human rights standards because they have resulted in significant human rights violations against those living in or close to the direct zone of influence of mining projects. Most of the companies concerned have projects in regions where social protest has taken place; of the 29 agreements currently in place, five relate to Cajamarca, ten to the southern mining corridor (Cuzco, Apurímac and Arequipa), and two to the Amazon basin.

The study argues that these agreements essentially privatise public security and place the interests of companies above those of the population the police supposedly serve. They represent “an illegitimate tool against social mobilisation, in particular, against protest”. The study asks the Peruvian government to abstain from signing any further contracts and to modify the law so that extractive industries cannot use the public security forces for their own private security. They also request the formation of a multi-sectoral commission to carry out an independent report that analyses the consequences of such agreements.