Amnesty publishes annual report
11 March 2017
Amnesty International published its annual report at the beginning of this month, strongly condemning what it sees as the increasing trend worldwide in hateful rhetoric “that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people to win the support of voters [and] which will have an increasingly dangerous impact on actual policy”. Amnesty gives examples of countries which it sees as turning a blind eye to the global refugee crisis, undermining freedom of expression and extending draconian police powers.
At the same time, it stresses the importance of individual and collective actions to stand up and act to protect human rights, and cites such peaceful movements as the International Women’s March and the Ayotzinapa student protests in Mexico last year. Such responses, it says “should inspire us to stand up for our freedoms”.
In Peru, Amnesty notes that there has been increased violence towards marginalised groups, singling out women and girls, indigenous peoples and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons (LGBTI). Forty-three cases of threats and intimidation and eight murders of LGBTI people were registered by local NGOs.
Amnesty highlights many of the issues that the PSG has covered in 2016, including the large number of social conflicts (over 200), 70% of which relate to disputes over natural resources, land and threats to the environment (see the latest Defensoría report highlighted above). It also underlines the difficulties faced by human rights defenders, who face harassment, threats and attacks as a consequence of their involvement in social protest. Singled out here is the killing of Quintino Cereceda last October during protests at Las Bambas which, the report argues, exemplifies the use of excessive force by police in dealing with social protest.
Violence against women and girls has continued, the report argues, with 108 women killed by their partners. Also raised is the issue of human trafficking. Eighty per cent of those being trafficked are women, and 56% of victims are under 18 years old. The majority are trafficked for sexual exploitation, notably in mining areas. Amnesty highlights the case of a 15-year-old girl, whose exploitation was acquitted by the Permanent Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court. The court argued that “working over 13 hours a day as an ‘escort’ in a bar in an illegal mining operation did not constitute labour exploitation or sexual exploitation, as the ‘workload did not exhaust the worker’”.
Amnesty also focuses on forced sterilisation, highlighting the fact that the investigation of over 2,000 women and men has been shelved. It notes that although there has been some advance in the registration of victims of forced sterilisations, possibilities of attaining justice and social and health remedies remain remote.
On indigenous peoples, Amnesty mentions the devastating effects of the 13 recorded oil spills in the Amazon region and the lack of progress in providing much-needed health and environmental remedies. Indigenous organisations and state authorities signed an agreement to address these issues in December. The report also mentions the trial of 53 indigenous people charged with killing of twelve police officers during the so-called ‘baguazo’ in 2009. All were finally acquitted.
Amnesty recognises that Peru has made progress in investigations past human rights violations during the period of internal armed conflict. It cites the verdicts last July that found eleven military personnel guilty of sexual violence against rural women between 1984 and 1995 in Huancavelica. And, last August, ten military personnel were found guilty of extra-judicial executions of 69 people at Accomarca village in 1985.