Amnesty International (AI) denounced this Thursday that, during the anti-government protests in Peru, there were “generalized attacks” on the population by law enforcement and that the “serious human rights crisis” the country lives has been fueled by racism and criminalization against indigenous and peasant communities.
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“Indeed, Serious human rights violations are being committed in Peru“, assured the director for the Americas of AI, Erika Guevara.
Amnesty International (AI) presented to the President of Peru, Dina Boluarte, evidence that security agents have used excessive and lethal force during the repression of the demonstrations that have been demanding his resignation since December.
“We have presented the evidence collected (…) where the security forces made a excessive and disproportionate and often lethal use of force, using weapons against people who were protesting,” Guevara reported, after meeting with Boluarte at the presidential palace in Lima.
“These are widespread attacks on the population, with the intention of punishing and silencing people who exercise their legitimate right to protest,” he said.
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It is no coincidence that dozens of people told AI that they felt the authorities treated them like animals and not human beings.
Guevara insisted that the “excessive and disproportionate use of force” by law enforcement, which included “unlawful use of lethal weapons and less lethal weapons indiscriminately”, has left a “fatal and tragic” balance, which “deepens the systemic racism that exists in the State authorities”.
“The Peruvian authorities have allowed that, for more than two months, the excessive and lethal use of force is the Government’s only response to the social clamor of thousands of communities that today demand dignity and a political system that guarantees their human rights,” he said.
‘Most marginalized’ protests in southern Peru
The organization highlighted that the protests broke out in southern regions, the “most marginalized in the country”, whose population, mostly indigenous, has been “historically subjected to discrimination and inequality.”
He highlighted, in this sense, that while the departments with the largest indigenous population represent 13% of the Peruvian population, these concentrate 80% of deaths totals registered since the beginning of the crisis, last December.
“It is no coincidence that dozens of people told AI that they felt the authorities treated them like animals and not human beings,” he added.
Systemic racism rooted in Peruvian society and its authorities for decades, has been the engine of violence exercised as punishment against communities that have raised their voices,” AI collected in a statement.
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These facts, warned Guevara, “could constitute extrajudicial executionswhich is a crime under international law, which has responsibilities, not only for the one who pulled the trigger but also for the one who gave the order.”
failures in justice
After denouncing the attacks on the press during the coverage of the social mobilizations, AI mentioned the “criminalization” of the protest.
According to the organization, protests are being criminalized through speeches that claim without evidence that there are links to terrorism and criminal groups and through cases such as the eviction of protesters of the National University of San Marcos, in Lima, whose operation revealed “possible cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment”.
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Guevara also warned that “there are indications that the judicial system could be used inappropriately to persecute and silence the people who participate in the protests”.
In this sense, he expressed his “great concern” at the lack of “resources, capacity and expertise” of the regional prosecutors’ offices that could lead to “impunity”.
For this reason, among the preliminary recommendations of its investigation, AI urges the Public Ministry to advance “promptly and exhaustively” in the identification of possible perpetrators of human rights violations up to the highest level.
The organization also urged the authorities to end the use of deadly force, as well as stigmatization and “structural racial discrimination”.
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“We reiterate our call to the interim president Dina Boluarte and the rest of the State authorities to put an end to the repression, meet the legitimate demands of those protesting and guarantee that the State complies with its obligation to investigate all human rights violations committed by the security forces and bring those found responsible to justice,” he concluded.
The AI mission sent to Peru traveled to the southern departments of Ayacucho, Apurímac and Cuzco between January 29 and February 11 and met with senior officials.
Among those present were President Dina Boluarte, and multiple representatives of the security forces, prosecutors, journalists and civil society organizations, the wounded and relatives of the fatalities from the protests, amounting to 70according to various sources.
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