Andean Community

Human rights and democracy situation in Peru

17/05/2019 - 20:39
News stories

Human Rights in Peru

Republic of Peru

1. Overview of the human rights and democracy situation: Institutional reforms and the fight against corruption have been priority issues in Peru, in the wake of the Odebrecht scandal and a wider trafficking of influence scandal involving the judiciary. President Vizcarra made political reform the core of his policy agenda. The referendum held on 9 December allowed for the adoption of a comprehensive reform package, which implies amending a number of Constitutional provisions. Former President Alberto Fujimori's pardon in late December 2017 was regarded as a major setback by the human rights community. However, in a surprising turnaround, the Peruvian Supreme Court decided in October to annul the humanitarian pardon on grounds that it constituted a breach of Peru's Constitution and international commitments, and ordered Fujimori's imprisonment.

Women's rights and gender-based violence remains a pressing issue in Peru's human rights agenda. The rates of sexual violence against women are among the highest in the region. The Peruvian government is making important efforts, but much remains to be done, including ensuring full respect and protection of women's reproductive rights. As far as indigenous people's rights are concerned, the implementation of the 2013 Prior Consultation Law still offers room for improvement. Although lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights are increasingly gaining attention and there is more societal awareness, there is nonetheless still a long way ahead to substantial progress in these matters. The protection for Human Rights Defenders (HRD), especially those involved in social conflicts, is a matter of concern. There are allegations of judicial harassment and of excessive use of force by the police. An important issue in the country's human rights agenda remains addressing the causes and consequences of the years of internal violence that took place between 1980 and 2000. In terms of social and economic rights, the country has made significant progress over the past two decades, with a significant and steady downward trend in the rates of poverty. However, inequalities persist, especially in the Andean regions. With regard to environmental and labour rights, within the framework of the implementation of the Trade Agreement with the EU, the country has made significant progress but more efforts are needed, especially on the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter (i.e. provisions on prior environmental impact assessments and on prior consultation of indigenous and peasant communities, inclusive civil society consultation mechanisms, workers' rights, etc.).

Peru adopted in February 2018 its National Plan for Human Rights for the period 2018-2021, focusing on vulnerable groups (the afro-descendent population, children, the elderly, population with AIDS and TBC, indigenous people, women, the disabled, the LGBTI community, migrants, the victims of the violence between 1980 and 2000, as well as HRDs).

2. EU action - key focus areas:

Democratic governance and electoral reform;

Protection and empowerment of vulnerable groups (indigenous people, women, LGTBI and prisoners);

Access to justice and the functioning of the judiciary, including reparations for victims of human rights violations;

Prevention of social conflicts and protection of human rights defenders;

Support to the design and implementation of Peru´s human rights legal and policy framework.

3. EU bilateral political engagement:

The EU holds a regular sectorial dialogue with Peru on Human rights. The fourth meeting took place in January 2018 and focused on the implementation of the EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) recommendations relating to the electoral process, corporate social responsibility, the fight against corruption, gender-based violence, migration and refugees the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and the multilateral agenda.

The EU, together with other donors, promoted a wide and inclusive national consultation process (called "25 by 25") aimed at identifying a list of 25 commitments to fight gender-based violence. This set of validated commitments, announced on 25 November, will serve as a road map for the future actions in the prevention of violence against women and girls.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, the EU Delegation, in cooperation with the Peruvian Ministry of Justice, the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Catholic University of Peru, the French and the German Embassies, set up an academic event on Human Rights to mark the International day of Human Rights on 10 December. The EU Delegation joined the United Nations in an initiative reaching out to youngsters and aiming to raise awareness on the state of play of human rights in Peru.

4. EU financial engagement: The EU currently allocates more than 8 million Euros to finance human rights projects in Peru. The projects aim at strengthening human rights defenders and human rights (1.8 million Euros including a regional project), protecting indigenous rights (1.2 million Euros), fighting gender-based violence (1 million Euros), fighting torture, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances (2 million Euros, including a regional project) and promoting policies on business and human rights (1 million Euros through a regional project).

Past and ongoing projects supported by the EU have had a positive impact. Human rights defenders have a solid relation with the EU, while the channels of communication continue to be strengthened. EU support has been instrumental for integrating the guidelines on business and HR into the national human rights policy. The EU also contributed to put gender violence high up in the political agenda of the country and, to strengthen indigenous organisations in their capacities and in their access to economic opportunities.

5. Multilateral context: Peru has ratified all the relevant human rights conventions and has been proactive and collaborative in the revision processes developed by the United Nations and its relevant bodies. Peru refers to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism in a very positive manner and has accepted the majority of the recommendations made during its UPR cycles, including the 2017 exercise. Peru has adhered to the International Criminal Court but Congress is still working on the necessary adjustments of the Peruvian legislation. Nonetheless, the challenge for full implementation of human rights legislation remains. Peru presented its Good Human Rights Story in the UN General Assembly side-event on 27 September 2018 in New York, in which it underscored its campaign to address racism through a video detailing its nation-wide campaign. Peru is an interesting example, as a member of both the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council.

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