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 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.