The civil society organisation Platform on Business and Human Rights has written a letter addressed to President Martín Vizcarra that requests the government to create a multi-stakeholder space for dialogue over Covid-19. This would assist discussion of the impact of the pandemic on the human rights of Peruvians, particularly of workers in both formal and informal sectors as well as other vulnerable populations including indigenous peoples. The Platform forms part of the National Human Rights Coordinator (Coordinadora).
The Platform is concerned about reports received of a number of human rights violations committed by private companies since the start of the national emergency in mid-March. It gives examples of companies dismissing workers without the necessary labour ministry authorisation. It also tells of companies that are forcing their employees to continue working without the necessary safeguards to guarantee their safety and that of their families.
The letter cites the incidence of Covid-19 cases in the mining sector (put at well over 250) and expresses concern for the predicament of indigenous people coping with oil operations in Loreto and Ucayali regions (see PSG article).
The Letter concludes by asking the government to:
- Penalise companies that breach people’s rights, as well as to implement proper oversight to protect workers against unfair dismissal and other violations of labour rights.
- Stress the necessity of limiting the recovery of production, prioritising biosecurity protocols over narrow corporate interests.
- Use the opportunity to make the multi-actor space established for the National Plan of Action on Business and Human Rights into a permanent forum for dialogue.