- Peru Support Group
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The Peru Support Group is an independent NGO that works with Peruvian groups and an international network to defend human rights, promote social inclusion and strengthen democracy.
- The majority of Peru’s rural population lives in poverty, with nearly 2 million people surviving on less than $2 per day. Women, children and indigenous peoples are often worst affected: 78 per cent of Peru’s indigenous children live in poverty.
- Social and environmental conflicts – many of them around the mining concessions that cover half of the country – led to 24 deaths and 649 injuries in 2012. Together with the divisive legacy of the internal armed conflict (1980-2000), which left 70,000 people dead, this is putting the development of strong democratic institutions at risk.
- Peru is one of the three most vulnerable countries in the world to the impacts of climate change, with its water supply largely dependent on Andean glaciers.
The UK connection
As an international financial centre and the home to major mining corporations, the UK plays a critical role in Peru. The UK is the second biggest foreign investor in Peru. The British government also wields power in international institutions like the G8, World Bank and European Union, making it a major player in rules on transparency, human rights and trade.
What we do
- Drawing on our international network of expert researchers and grassroots groups, we produce rigorous research and organise events to inform, debate and improve policy.
- From our base in London, we work with allies in Peru and across Europe to advocate positive change and ensure governments and corporations are held to account.
- We draw attention to poverty and human rights issues in Peru by providing timely news and analysis to an international network of policymakers, researchers and civil society groups.
History and achievements
The Peru Support Group was established 30 years ago, when people in southern Peru faced human rights violations on a daily basis during the internal conflict, which left 70,000 people dead. The PSG played a major role in bringing those abuses to public attention in the UK and other European countries. We have since been intimately involved in the process of researching and disseminating the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which exposed the extent of human rights violations.
In the 1980s, the PSG was active in groundbreaking attempts to renegotiate Peruvian debt and to channel resources into poverty relief. During the 1990s, alongside a variety of organisations elsewhere in Europe, we highlighted democratic transgressions during the Fujimori period, providing a platform for Peruvian activists to campaign for the restoration of democracy.
Since the fall of Fujimori in 2000, we have played a key role in exposing the problems associated with extractive industries, particularly in the mining sector. The report of the PSG parliamentary delegation to the Río Blanco mine, owned by the British company Monterrico Metals, was instrumental in defending the rights of peasant communities in northern Peru. As a result of PSG involvement, local communities won an important out-of-court settlement compensating them for human rights violations.
Who we are
The Peru Support Group is run on a day to day basis by the advocacy officer, Amalia Syeda-Aguirre. Amalia conducts our parliamentary and other lobbying work, with a focus on human rights, extractive industries and climate change. Amalia has worked with indigenous communities in Peru and with Human Rights Watch, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and the European Parliament in Brussels.
The president of the Peru Support Group is Baroness Coussins, a crossbencher in the House of Lords with a background in equality campaigning and corporate social responsibility. The vice-president is Rosemary Thorp, emeritus fellow at the Oxford University Latin American Centre, specialist in economic inequality and former chair of Oxfam GB.
The elected steering committee provides advice and oversight and comprises:
- Andrea Steel, Amnesty International Secretariat and lecturer in Latin American politics at Kingston University
- Andrea Wilkinson, doctoral student at Newcastle University, researching the effects of climate change on Fairtrade coffee farmers in Peru, with a background in capacity building and fundraising
- Francis McDonagh, Latin America Bureau co-editor and former head of CAFOD's Andes programme
- Gordon Hutchison, development consultant and former director of the Project Counselling Service, an international NGO supporting refugee and human rights programmes throughout Latin America
- Isabel Crabtree Condor, senior campaigns and communications adviser at Oxfam, Honduras
- Jeannet Lingan, head of policy and advocacy at Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future, focused on engagement in intergovernmental processes on sustainable development and corporate social responsibility
- John Crabtree, research associate at the Oxford University Latin American Centre, specialist in Andean politics
- Judith Condor Vidal, director of Trading for Development
- Patricia Oliart, lecturer in Latin American studies at Newcastle University, with research interests including rights of indigenous peoples and women
- Peter Low, advisor on transparency and anti-corruption at the International Governance and Risk Institute
- Tim Thorp, treasurer and retired civil servant
- Tom Pegram, deputy director of the Institute of Global Governance at University College London
The Peru Support Group is an independent, non-profit organisation funded by CAFOD, Christian Aid, our members and volunteer fundraisers.
Peru Support Group sponsors
Lord Brenan QC
Ann Clwyd MP
Linda Fabiani MSP
Richard Howitt MEP
Simon Hughes MP
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O' Connor
Reverend Ed O'Connell
Hugh O' Shaughnessy
Professor William Rowe
Rosemary Thorp CBE