Whoever wins the presidential elections this Sunday in Peru, women and the LGTBIQ ++ community lose by having to choose between two conservative and anti-social rights options such as abortion, homosexual marriage and education with a focus on gender equality.
The leftist Pedro Castillo and the rightist Keiko Fujimori put forward radically opposite proposals on the political and economic level for the next five years in Peru, but they largely agree on postpone the debate on women’s rights and gender already recognized in other Latin American countries.
This has placed Peru as one of the most conservative countries in the regionSince abortion is criminalized except to save the life of the mother, it does not legally recognize same-sex couples in any way, nor does it have a gender identity law.
To this is added that it is one of the most violent for women, registering an average of one disappearance every hour during 2020, most of them minors.
Without any change on the horizon, for many women and members of the LGTBIQ ++ community “The situation is critical” in these elections, as the executive director of the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights (Promsex), Susana Chávez, told EFE.
“You can’t keep talking about democracy if this is not inclusive And it doesn’t end with discrimination. They are not ‘special’ rights, it is to place all people under the same standards of rights, “says Chávez, who was part of the congressional lists for the liberal and centrist Purple Party.
For Chávez, this choice puts at risk the steps advanced in recent years to promote equality in the approach to sexist violence and the treatment of victims.
It also sees the national plan to combat trafficking at risk, where 80% of the victims are women and 70% adolescents, because “without a gender perspective, traffickers will only be prosecuted without preventing crime and without protecting the victims.”
About abortion, with a penalty in Peru of 3 to 5 years, is pessimistic about an early decriminalization even for cases of rape and congenital malformations, as Promsex already tried with a legislative initiative that was buried at the first change by Congress in 2018.
In Peru, therapeutic abortion has been legal since 1924, but it was not until 2014 when a protocol was developed for its application in case of mortal risk for the mother, “one of the most delayed protocols in Latin America,” Chávez says.
“Changing that is going to be very difficult”admits the public policy expert, who believes that, with a better protocol that does not require testing the mother’s mortal risk, it could have prevented maternal deaths from increasing by 40% during the pandemic.
Something almost identical happens with equal marriage, since both candidates “have had manifestations of rejection to any recognition of the rights of LGTBIQ ++ “, Gabriela Zavaleta, president of Más Igualdad, a promoter of” Yes I accept “, warns Efe, a campaign in favor of weddings between same-sex couples.
“On Fujimori’s side there is evidence that neither she nor her party (Popular Force) are allies of our cause,” Zavaleta points out, recalling that the candidate has ties to evangelical churches and it has always obstructed bills such as the civil union in Congress.
Meanwhile, Castillo, who is a teacher and union leader, has sympathized with the ultraconservative collective ‘With my children do not get involved’, the biggest opponent of the implementation of the gender approach in Peruvian public education, and “it is worrying that it has expressions such as ‘I am profamily and pro-life,'” he laments.
Although Fujimori has former minister Carlos Bruce on his team, promoter in previous years of the civil union between homosexuals, the activist does not believe that Fuerza Popular has summoned him for that.
He has a little more hope in Castillo, who has added members from Nuevo Peru, party that does openly defend equal marriage, something that, however, it recognizes almost unfeasible in the recently elected Congress, with a conservative majority.
“In Peru the taboo on same-sex couples is still strong, but family and friends make it. Visibility is a great help. Hopefully that permeates the congressmen, “Zavaleta wishes.
The highest expectations are placed in the Justice, “a much more encouraging and democratic way”According to Zavaleta, who has already begun to recognize in the first instance some homosexual marriages contracted abroad.
Chávez also agrees on this: “What this Congress will not be able to prevent are the international recommendations and that we go to national and international justice. At least there will be a fight on our part. “