Facts and Key Issues

Peru is a country of abundant natural resources and rich culture. Despite this, over half of the population live in poverty. Social discrimination and inequality are widespread. More information on the key challenges for Peru are outlined below.

History and politics


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. 

peru issues

Painting in Cusco

Full name: Republic of Peru
Population: 31,826,018 million (2016)
Capital: Lima
Area: 1.28 million sq km (496,225 sq miles)
Major languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Major religion: Christianity
Life expectancy: 69 years (men), 74 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 nuevo sol = 100 centimos

Human Rights

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.

Society and Conflict

Society and Conflict

Peru’s indigenous and peasant communities continue to suffer political marginalisation and discrimination. Insufficient consultation with such groups over political and developmental decisions has fostered feelings of disenfranchisement and led to elevated levels of social conflict.


Women have traditionally suffered disproportionately from the country’s pervasive poverty and unemployment, partly as a result of persistent discrimination. Domestic violence remains a serious concern and was reported by the World Health Organisation in 2005 to affect over 50 percent of Peruvian women.

Climate Change

Two important reports on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC ) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios and the Stern Review, place Peru as one of the countries that will be most affected by the effects of climate change.