CIVICUS

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Peru

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Last updated on 14.12.2018 at 15:05

Peru Overview

Peru currently experiences high levels of social conflict. Since the early 1990s, extractive industries have grown exponentially in areas dedicated to subsistence farming.

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Constitutional Court decision regarding state advertising welcomed by CSOs

Constitutional Court decision regarding state advertising welcomed by CSOs

On 11th September 2018, the Peruvian Constitutional Court issued a decision where it declared unconstitutional a law that prohibited the State from contracting state advertising with private media.

Expression

On 11th September 2018, the Peruvian Constitutional Court issued a decision in which it declared unconstitutional a law that prohibited the State from contracting state advertising with private media. Law 2133 was approved by Congress on 14th June 2018, and it was criticised by civil society organisations because it "constitutes a mechanism of indirect censorship that conceals, under the pretext of careful use of public resources, the intention to silence the press and undermine its oversight role". 

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomed the court's decision, stating that the legislation "prohibited state advertising in a discriminatory manner".   

In a separate development, IDL-Reporteros, a Peruvian news platform, requested the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to force the government to provide urgent protection measures for journalists and officials investigating corruption. As reported previously by the CIVICUS Monitor, IDL-Reporteros published a series of articles revealing alleged acts of corruption in the Peruvian judicial system involving Supreme Court judges, ministers, members of Congress, business-people and journalists. Following the publication, the media outlet and its journalists were subject to harassment by the authorities. 

Peaceful Assembly

On 18th September 2018, hundreds of Peruvians marched in Lima to support proposed legal reforms which aim to fight corruption in the country. The reforms seek to strengthen the National Council of the Magistracy (CNM), ending the immediate re-election of members of Congress, criminalising unreported campaign contributions and moving towards a bicameral Congress.

Association in Peru

The freedom of association is constitutionally guaranteed. However, funding of CSOs has been increasingly subjected to controls by the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation, and violence against human rights defenders – especially anti-mining activists – is commonplace.

The freedom of association is constitutionally guaranteed. However, funding of CSOs has been increasingly subjected to controls by the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation, and violence against human rights defenders – especially anti-mining activists – is commonplace. Criminalisation of environmental human rights activists and community leaders takes various forms including intimidation, threats, physical attacks, illegal surveillance, stigmatisation and smear campaigns, arbitrary arrests and judicial harassment. Typically used as retaliation for protest actions and therefore based on unfounded criminal charges, court proceedings are eventually dropped or end in acquittal. For example, defender Milton Sanchez Cubas has been subjected to 50 different court proceedings and never been convicted. Women human rights defenders suffer additional risks, such as sexual violence, and mining workers trying to create independent trade unions are also specifically targeted.

Peaceful Assembly in Peru

The Peruvian Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, specifically stating that gatherings in public spaces do not require prior authorisation but advance notification. When authorities fail to respond, however, requests are deemed to be denied.

The Peruvian Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly, specifically stating that gatherings in public spaces do not require prior authorisation but advance notification. When authorities fail to respond, however, requests are deemed to be denied. The latest report by the Human Rights Ombudsman Office recorded 211 social conflicts – 155 defined as ‘active’ and 56 as ‘dormant’- and 179 protests in March 2015. As mobilisation in opposition to extractive industries intensified, legislative measures were passed limiting the right to protest and guaranteeing impunity for members of the security forces who employ violence. A 2010 decree permitted the deployment of the armed forces in demonstrations, allowed the use of force against ‘hostile groups’ and established military jurisdiction in human rights cases involving members of the military. An additional law that entered into force in January 2014 exempted the armed forces and the police from all criminal responsibility in cases of injury or death caused while on duty. There has since been an increase in excessive use of force by police during demonstrations, arrests and detention, resulting in injuries and even deaths. Recent reports have also criticised the existence of agreements between the national police and several mining companies, as a result of which the police also act as private security agencies.

Expression in Peru

The Peruvian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but criminal defamation statutes are systematically used against journalists, and those covering sensitive issues such as corruption, drug trafficking, police abuse and land and mining conflicts are frequently subjected to threats.

The Peruvian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but criminal defamation statutes are systematically used against journalists, and those covering sensitive issues such as corruption, drug trafficking, police abuse and land and mining conflicts are frequently subjected to threats, intimidation, surveillance, detention, physical attacks and the theft or confiscation of equipment. According to the National Journalists’ Association (ANP), there were 113 cases of aggression perpetrated by both state and private actors, including police, public officials, civilians and media owners during 2014. 98% of the murders of journalists committed in the past 30 years remain unpunished. The media sector is mostly privately owned and highly concentrated. Peru has had a Transparency and Access to Information law since 2002; however, levels of compliance are still low. There are documented government restrictions on access to the Internet.