Washington, DC, May 15, 2023- On May 3, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released the report, Situation of Human Rights in Peru in the Context of Social Protests, which concludes that serious human rights violations were committed in Peru in the context of the social protests that occurred between December 7, 2022 and January 23, 2023.
The report recommends a series of measures, including the investigation, prosecution and punishment if those responsible of those abuses, and the provision of reparations to the victims. In this context, the IACHR has offered its assistance for the creation of an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts for Peru (GIEI-Peru) to assist the corresponding legal institutions in Peru to guarantee that these human rights violations are investigated, and those identified as responsible prosecuted, in a timely and impartial manner. Such a body could also help in the design of comprehensive reparations for the victims.
As international organizations with extensive experience in the defense and promotion of human rights in Peru, we regard the creation of a GIEI-Peru to be indispensable and urge the government of Dina Boluarte to seriously consider the IACHR’s proposal of critical technical assistance.
The objective of an Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts is to provide expert and independent technical support to national institutions in charge of the investigation of serious and exceptional situations that have resulted in serious human rights violations, and that due to their complexity, require specialized accompaniment that not only helps to determine the truth and guarantee the right to justice of the victims, but also supports the identification of structural problems that could hinder these objectives.
“As we stated in the letter we sent to the President of Peru and as has been requested by other international organizations that monitor the situation in the country, we consider that the magnitude, complexity and gravity of the human rights violations that occurred in the context of the democratic crisis in Peru require a mechanism of this nature,” says Viviana Krsticevic, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL).
“The shortcomings documented in the investigation of human rights violations, including the treatment of key evidence, the elimination of human rights prosecutors, and the recent creation of a Special Group by the Public Ministry to centralize the investigation of these cases in Lima, contrary to the demands of victims and the national human rights community, are serious enough to warrant the creation of a GIEI for Peru,” says Jo-Marie Burt, Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA). “A mechanism of this nature aims to accompany domestic human rights prosecutors in charge of these cases, and to provide greater public confidence in the impartiality and thoroughness of their findings.”
A GIEI-Peru can boost and strengthen the work of national institutions as well as help prosecutors bring strong cases that provide prompt justice to victims. Angelita Baeyens, Vice President of Advocacy and International Litigation at RFK Human Rights, indicates that “the timely establishment of a GIEI can also prevent similar violations from occurring in the future and thus restore the civic and democratic space that the country requires.”
According to Katya Salazar, Executive Director of the Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF), “in other cases in the region, the creation of a GIEI has provide critical support to States in clarifying serious human rights violations that occurred in contexts of social protests, similar to those that occurred in Peru.” She adds, “For example, the GIEI-Nicaragua was created to support in the investigation of the human rights violations that occurred between April 18 and May 30, 2018. Its work was was fundamental in reconstructing key moments in those protests.”
As international organizations committed to the defense and promotion of human rights in Peru, we reiterate our willingness to collaborate with the Peruvian State and the IACHR in the achievement of this international support mechanism. We hope to see a response to this recommendation that is in accordance with Peru’s international human rights obligations.