Government declares state of emergency in response to teacher protests

Peaceful Assembly

On 15th June 2017, teachers in at least twelve regions of Peru went on a strike for an indefinite period. Organised by the teachers' union - Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores en la Educación del Perú - the teachers are demanding a salary increase. In some instances, when teachers have blocked major roads in protest, security forces reportedly used tear gas to disperse them. 

In response to the ongoing strike and related protests, the government has declared a state of emergency in some districts of the regions of Cusco and Puno. The organisations Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights National Coordinator) Muqui Network and Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (Human Rights without Frontiers), among others, issued a public statement condemning the state of emergency, arguing that according to the Peruvian Constitution, a state of emergency should be an exceptional measure. In this situation of the teachers' strike, the three organisations claim that the Peruvian government is abusing its state of emergency powers and limiting citizens' right to peaceful assembly.

In a separate incident, thousands took to the streets of Lima on 7th July to protest against the possible pardon of ex-president Alberto Fujimori from his 25-year sentence for human rights abuses during his presidency. A short video of the protest can be seen below. 

Expression

On 3rd July 2017, the final hearing on the sale of the shares of the media group Empresa Periodística Nacional (EPENSA) took place in Lima. The case began in 2013 when a group of journalists filed a lawsuit after the publishing company El Comercio purchased 54 percent of the shares from EPENSA, making El Comercio the largest media owner in the country. The group of journalists claim that El Comercio now controls 78 percent of the newspaper market, which could negatively impact pluralism in the media. Though the final hearing has taken place, at the time of writing, no final decision on the lawsuit has been made.