Peruvian human rights defenders are participating in a campaign launched by Oxfam and the national NGOs Cooperacción and Fedepaz to persuade the state to implement the protocol approved in April to guarantee HRD protection. They include Virginia Pinares, who was the keynote speaker at the PSG annual conference in November, and Rodolfo Abarca (both from Cotabambas in Apurímac region), as well as Flor de María Paraná (from Cuninico in the Amazon), Eusebio Cuñachi (from Bagua in Amazonas) and Gladis Vila (an HRD for indigenous women).
In April of this year, the Justice and Human Rights Ministry approved a protocol (RM No. 059-2019-JUS) designed to guarantee the protection of HRDs. However, as so often happens, eight months later this protocol has not been implemented, leaving them at risk.
The urgency behind this campaign is illustrated by Front Line Defenders’ annual report on HRDs at risk. This report reveals that in 2017 more than 300 human rights defenders were assassinated in 27 countries. Of these, 67% were defending the rights to land, the environment and indigenous peoples, almost always in the context of extractive activities and large infrastructure projects. These are precisely the contexts in which HRDs in Peru carry out their activities.