Peru
Head of state and government
Ollanta Humala Tasso (replaced Alan García Pérez in July)
Death penalty
abolitionist for ordinary crimes
Population
29.4 million
Life expectancy
74 years
Under-5 mortality
21.3 per 1,000
Adult literacy
89.6 per cent

The landmark Consultation with Indigenous Peoples Law, the first in Latin America, made consultation mandatory prior to the implementation of development projects on traditional Indigenous lands. There was little progress in investigations into human rights violations committed during the internal armed conflict (1980-2000).

Background

On taking office, President Ollanta Humala said that alleviating poverty and social exclusion would be priorities for his government.

Concessions to extractive companies gave rise to protests by Indigenous Peoples. Six Indigenous people were killed and dozens injured during protests in the Puno region in May and June against mining activities and the construction of a hydroelectric dam.

In November, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that the construction of the Majes Siguas II irrigation project could not go ahead until a hydrological impact assessment study had been carried out. The community of Espinar in the Cuzco region argued that the construction of the Angostura dam and hydroelectric power station would affect the water supply in their community and, therefore, their livelihood.

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Indigenous Peoples’ rights

The long-awaited Consultation with Indigenous Peoples Law came into force in September. This made consultation and agreements with Indigenous Peoples over developments on traditional lands mandatory. In cases where agreement is not reached, state agencies will have to take all necessary measures to ensure that the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples are guaranteed. However, there was concern that lack of consultation over development projects already approved might lead to further conflict.

In November, Indigenous communities in Cajamarca province protested when government-brokered talks between local communities and the mining company Mineria Yanacocha collapsed. The communities opposed the project as they believed it would threaten local water supplies. The regional government suspended the project pending completion of a new environmental impact assessment.

Bagua

In June, Congress approved a report that concluded no government ministers were responsible for the events in Bagua in June 2009 in which 33 people died, including 23 police officers, and at least 205 people were injured after police intervened to end Indigenous protests.

Also in June, a court dropped criminal charges against Indigenous leader Segundo Alberto Pizango Chota of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle, and four others in connection with the clashes at Bagua.

Two generals from the National Peruvian Police and a senior army officer were convicted by a military-police court in connection with the deaths and injuries in Bagua. Court proceedings against five police officers were continuing at the end of the year.

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Impunity

Investigations into past human rights violations continued at a slow pace.

  • In May, oral hearings began in the case against retired General Carlos Briceño Zevallos and six other senior military officers in connection with torture and enforced disappearances at the Cabitos barracks in Huamanga province in 1983. The trial was continuing at the end of the year.
  • In July, former military officer Telmo Hurtado was extradited from the USA to face trial in connection with the massacre of 69 villagers in Accomarca in 1985. The trial of 29 people, including members of the patrols involved in the crime and those who gave the orders, was continuing at the end of the year.

In June, the executive promulgated a decree establishing the amount of reparations to be granted to individual victims of the armed conflict registered on the official Victims’ Registry and stating that the process of determining the beneficiaries would close at the end of December. Organizations representing the victims rejected the ruling on various grounds.

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Excessive use of force

In April, three protesters were killed and scores injured in clashes with police during protests against the “Tía María” copper mining project in Islay province. Shortly afterwards, the authorities cancelled the project, which the community had said would contaminate the water they used for agriculture.

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Trade unionists

Trade union leaders Pedro Condori Laurente and Antonio Quispe Tamayo were released in March after two and half months in prison on unfounded charges relating to a mining accident in July 2010. At the end of the year, the charges against them remained pending.

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Corporate accountability

In August, the UK-based Monterrico Metals reached an out-of-court settlement with 33 peasant farmers who alleged that security guards employed by the company had colluded in the human rights violations they suffered during protests at the Río Blanco mining project in 2005.

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Sexual and reproductive rights

In October the CEDAW Committee ruled that Peru must amend its law to allow women to obtain an abortion in cases of rape; establish a mechanism to ensure the availability of those abortion services; and guarantee access to abortion services when a woman’s life or health is in danger. The case, brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights and its partner organization in Peru, PROMSEX, concerned a 13-year-old who was repeatedly raped from the age of 11 and became pregnant as a result in 2007. She was left seriously disabled after a suicide attempt left her with a fractured spine on which doctors refused to operate on the grounds that the procedure could damage the foetus.

Women faced further obstacles in accessing their sexual and reproductive rights when in May the Constitutional Tribunal, clarifying an earlier ruling, banned the state from selling or freely distributing emergency contraception.

In October, the authorities announced that the Public Prosecutor had reopened an investigation into the forced sterilizations of over 200,000 women during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s.

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