Peru Human Rights Practices, 1994
U.S. Department of State
Table of Contents
Respect for Human Rights
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
- a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
- b. Disappearance
- c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
- e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
- f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
- g. Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts
- Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
- Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
- Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
- Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
- Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status
- Section 6 Worker Rights
Peru is a multiparty republic with a dominant executive branch headed by President Alberto Fujimori. Following the President's April 1992 seizure of extraconstitutional powers, he called elections for a new Congress, which drafted a new Constitution approved in a 1993 referendum. The President's party controls the 80-member unicameral Constituent Congress. The next Congress will have 120 members elected at large in April 1995. An independent tribunal has reviewed the most senior judicial appointments, but two-thirds of the judges and prosecutors remain provisional, chosen by the President.
The military and police share public security duties. Since 1980 much of their efforts have been directed toward defeating Sendero Luminoso and other antigovernment guerrillas. As government counterinsurgency policies became increasingly effective, the threat from Sendero greatly declined, and the human rights situation improved. Nonetheless, the military and the police continued to be responsible for serious human rights abuses and, except in rare cases, continued to act with impunity.
Peru's mixed economy combines free market capitalism with state ownership of some major industries. Minerals extraction and processing account for nearly half the foreign exchange earnings. The Government pursued a market-oriented economic stabilization and structural adjustment program, including privatization of state-owned firms. The economy continued to recover from an economic crisis, with gross domestic product rising 12 percent and inflation falling to 15.3 percent. However, the 1993 census showed that over half of Peruvians live in poverty, and nearly half of those in extreme poverty.
Most of the human rights problems in 1994 continued to be related to the guerrilla war, in which over 27,000 Peruvians have died due to actions and abuses by both sides. The Government lifted emergency zone status, which provides for the suspension of certain constitutional guarantees, in six provinces in November, but this status continued in Lima and other provinces, affecting 48 percent of Peru's 22 million people. While the number of human rights abuses such as extrajudicial killings and disappearances are down considerably from previous years, the military and the police continued to be responsible for numerous extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detentions, torture, rape, and disappearances. The Sendero Luminoso and other terrorist groups were responsible for much greater numbers of serious abuses, including assassinations, massacres of indigenous people, torture, and the use of random and specific acts of terror to intimidate the populace.
Perpetrators of human rights violations in general continued to act with impunity. There was no effort to investigate the 1991 Barrios Altos or 1992 Huancayo killings. Congress passed a special law to prevent the trial in the La Cantuta case (in which army personnel abducted and killed nine students and a professor from "La Cantuta" University in 1992) from going to a civilian court. While a military tribunal convicted a general and eight other officers and sentenced them to jail terms, there was no rigorous investigation of accusations of involvement by higher officials.
The administration of justice continued to be slow, inefficient, and frequently subject to charges of corruption, although significant reforms are in progress. The Government established two groups to review cases of individuals who had suffered prolonged detention without trial or who had been wrongly arrested or convicted. It also repealed the Terrorist Repentance Law, the abuse of which led to large number of arbitrary detentions based on false accusations, but it did not address the fundamental problem of lack of due process. Prison conditions remained poor, although the Government did improve some facilities.
By the end of 1994, Congress had not yet created the office of the "Defender of the People" (which would serve as an ombudsman on human rights issues) as called for in the new Constitution. However, it passed legislation in October to reopen the offices of human rights prosecutors, which the Attorney General had closed in June when an executive decree restructured the Public Ministry. The Congress also created the National Judiciary Council to provide an independent review of current provisional judges and prosecutors, but it was not staffed or functioning by year's end. It postponed implementation of a new Criminal Procedures Code subject to a congressionally mandated review commission. The Government continued to criticize harshly local human rights groups, and the President publicly rejected what he termed "foreign interference" in human rights and democracy issues. The dialogue between the Government and the Coordinadora, an umbrella organization for human rights groups, stalled over a number of issues. Despite a generally free press, some journalists were occasionally threatened and harassed. Peru's large indigenous population was subject to widespread discrimination. Violence against women remained pervasive.
Respect for Human Rights
Section 1 Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing
Since 1980 Peru has suffered a bloody guerrilla war waged by the terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). This war has caused over 27,000 deaths and numerous human rights abuses by both guerrillas and security forces; Sendero Luminoso committed more killings than the security forces.
The Coordinadora estimated that military forces were responsible for at least 32 extrajudicial killings, the rural self-defense forces known as rondas were responsible for 2, and the National Police for 4. Killings by the military could be even greater, since according to credible reports, the army killed an unknown number of civilians in Huanuco department in April (the Coordinadora counted 25). The reported level of killings by government forces was slightly higher than in 1993, but still substantially lower than previous years. At the height of the insurgency in 1992, the Coordinadora estimated that security forces were responsible for 114 extrajudicial killings. Most of the 1994 killings took place in the Upper Huallaga valley, where the level of conflict was highest, and occurred in the course of a military sweep operation in Huanuco department in April (see Section 1.g.).
On January 20, military police detained university student Victor Raul Espinoza after he reportedly instigated an altercation with military personnel near the presidential palace in Lima. They turned Espinoza over to the National Police, who took him to a nearby police station where police reportedly tortured and killed him. Several hours later, the police took Espinoza's bruised body to a local hospital. Following an investigation, a judge found sufficient evidence to indict 14 officers. According to the attorney for Espinoza's family, all 14 police indicted in the case remained on active duty at the end of the year; the case remained open but had not yet progressed beyond the investigative stage by the Attorney General's office.
However, civil authorities neither investigated fully most of the remaining killings by security forces, nor subjected the perpetrators to judicial sanctions. In those cases that were taken up, the armed forces relied on provisions of the Military Justice Code and the Constitution, the effect of which was to preempt independent civilian investigation and prosecution of cases involving military abuses. Although administrative sanctions and dismissals may have been decided in some cases, this process often accorded impunity to the perpetrators of human rights abuses. It was unclear how long even those who were convicted would stay in jail, in light of credible reports that Captain Telmo Hurtado, who had confessed to and was convicted for the 1985 Accomarca massacre, had reappeared on active duty.
In January when a civilian judge indicted several army personnel for the 1992 abduction and execution of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University, the army refused to turn the soldiers over to civilian authorities, asserting that the military court system had jurisdiction. While the army kept the indictees under military detention, the authorities appealed the jurisdiction issue to the Supreme Court in early February. Before the Court could muster the required two-vote margin in favor of either civilian or military trial, the government majority in Congress passed a bill, subsequently signed into law by President Fujimori, that permitted the one-vote majority in favor of prosecution in closed military court to be sufficient. The military court convicted nine in the case (a general and eight other commissioned and noncommissioned officers) and imposed sentences ranging from 4 to 20 years in prison (one was later acquitted on appeal). However, there was no rigorous investigation of allegations that higher-level officials had either ordered the killings or had covered them up. Nonetheless, this was only the third time since the onset of Sendero terrorism in which any court convicted military officers for extrajudicial killings, and included the highest ranking officer thus far convicted for such offenses.
Sendero Luminoso continued to assassinate civilians, including peasants, farmers, villagers, indigenous people, civil authorities and public servants, as well as 40 members of the security forces. However, the number of people murdered by Sendero declined significantly from 516 in 1993 to 215 in 1994, as the security forces continued to capture terrorist leaders. In addition, the Coordinadora reported the MRTA responsible for 22 political assassinations and unidentified subversives responsible for 8. Terrorist bomb attacks killed another 14 people. In 17 other deaths, the Coordinadora was unable to deduce from available evidence whether the security forces or subversives were responsible. The number of killings committed by each side doubtless is underreported because of the remoteness of many of the incidents and widespread distrust of the authorities and the judicial system.
The number of reported disappearances in 1994 was the lowest since 1982. The Coordinadora registered only 25 unresolved disappearances attributable to the security forces. This apparent reduction resulted from the Government's decision to end in late 1992 the tacit reliance on security forces' use of disappearances that characterized the previous two governments' counterinsurgency practices. Most of the disappearances occurred in areas where the insurgency was most active: Eight in Ucayali department, six in San Martin department, four in Lima department and the rest in four other departments. However, with disappearances occurring in areas where the Coordinadora does not have a permanent presence, these numbers are subject to change. For example, human rights observers associated with the Coordinadora discovered that the provincial human rights prosecutors based in the cities of Huanuco and Huancayo had reported to the Attorney General a higher number of 1993 disappearances in their jurisdictions than had been previously believed. The Coordinadora deduced that there may have been as many as 168 unresolved disappearances in 1993 (previous estimates had ranged from 44 to 59). During the latter part of 1994, the Coordinadora was investigating and attempting to confirm these reports. The closure for most of the year of Public Ministry human rights offices made it more difficult to track disappearances in 1994 than in previous years.
As in the past, the majority of complaints about disappearances in 1994 implicated members of the security forces in the emergency zones. Testimony from witnesses and survivors indicated that the most common scenario was for groups of men in civilian attire to abduct individuals and take them to military bases for interrogation. They later turned some over to the police for eventual terrorism trials, released others, but some never reappeared.
On January 16, Orlando Lopez Villalobos was changing money at a hotel in Pucallpa, Ucayali department, when navy personnel forced him to give them his money and identity documents. He reported this act to the local Catholic vicar's office, then went to the navy base to try to recover his money and papers. Lopez was never seen or heard from again. In another case in Pucallpa, navy personnel detained Segundo Fernandez Ferrari on March 20 at his home in front of relatives. He never returned home, and his whereabouts remain unknown.
Acting on provisions of a decree law issued by President Fujimori, Attorney General Blanca Nelida Colan shut down the Public Ministry's office of the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights, which, among other responsibilities, tracked disappearances on a full-time basis. Government officials justified this decision by citing the Constitution's creation of a "Defender of the People" office that would also monitor human rights. By year end, the government-controlled Congress had not passed enacting legislation for the new office, but it did reopen the office of the human rights prosecutor on an interim basis in November until the office of the Defender of the People is established.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Although the Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or humiliating treatment, torture and brutal treatment of detainees are common. Eyewitnesses and human rights monitors reported that government security forces routinely tortured suspected subversives at military and police detention centers. Justice Minister Vega acknowledged in November at a United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva that torture had not yet been eradicated in Peru but asserted that reports of torture had declined.
Torture most often takes place in the period immediately following detention. The law permits police to hold a terrorism suspect incommunicado for 15 days, and for another 15-day period in cases of treason (aggravated terrorism). The incidence of torture is high during this time, partly because the detainee is not allowed access to family or an attorney except when giving sworn statements to the public prosecutor. The Government asserts that the more liberal access it previously granted resulted in alleged miscarriages of justice in favor of detained terrorists. The law requires that the authorities interrogate persons detained for terrorism in the presence of a Public Ministry prosecutor, but they frequently violate these standards, especially in the emergency zones. A 1992 decree law eliminated the requirement that an attorney be present during the initial stages of detention and interrogation in terrorism or treason cases. A modification to that law, passed in 1993, permits a lawyer to be present when a detainee signs any written document, including his or her formal statement.
On September 13, the police arrested Maria Elena Foronda, an environmentalist working in Chimbote, on suspicion of terrorism after a so-called repentant terrorist taking advantage of the amnesty law made an accusation against her. After visiting her in jail, Foronda's mother publicly claimed that police had beaten Foronda and subjected her to psychological torture in an attempt to force her to confess that she was a terrorist.
In early 1994, a Coordinadora delegation visited Picsi prison near Chiclayo and interviewed dozens of detainees. Virtually all those interviewed complained that the police had tortured them during the interrogation phase of their detentions; several women claimed police had raped them. The Coordinadora noted that the incidence of torture was very high at police stations but had declined at the prison itself.
Besides beatings, common methods of torture included electric shock, water torture, asphyxiation, and hanging detainees on a hook from a rope attached to hands tied behind the back. Common forms of psychological torture included sleep deprivation and death threats against both the detainee and his or her family members. Interrogators almost always blindfolded their victims during torture so they could not later identify their abusers.
There continued to be credible reports that members of the security forces raped women, especially in the emergency zones. Following the alleged army indiscriminate killings of civilians in Molluna and Moena in April (see Section 1.g.), survivors claimed to have witnessed army personnel committing numerous rapes of local women and girls. In one scene shown on television news, a man entered Molluna without the knowledge or authorization of the military authorities, accompanied by journalists, to search for his 16-year-old daughter after troops had left the area. The state of his daughter's remains corroborated the testimony of a witness who told him several soldiers had raped her. Several members of a commission sponsored by Congress's human rights committee, including representatives of the Consejo por la Paz (Peace Council) and the Coordinadora, visited the area and concluded that soldiers had carried out at least two rapes. The authorities took no action to investigate or punish military rapists. According to eyewitnesses, on September 22, security forces raided the village of Paraiso in San Martin department and raped a woman and a 14-year-old girl. Several days later, the lieutenant who conducted the raid reportedly admitted in front of Paraiso villagers and his commander in Tocache that he ordered the rapes, but he has not been charged in this crime.
Many victims of Sendero terrorism also show signs of having been tortured. Sendero groups normally held a brief "people's trial" in the presence of onlookers as a means of intimidation before torturing their victims. There were credible accounts that Sendero tortured people to death by means such as slitting throats, strangulation, stoning, and burning. Mutilation of the body was common; in the Monterrico massacre, Sendero members cut up the bodies of their victims with machetes and axes (see Section 1.g.). In August Sendero sympathizers tortured four people they accused of cooperating with the police in the town of Llihuari, Huanuco department, for 3 days before killing them.
Conditions for many prisoners continued to be poor, although the Government made a costly and extensive effort to improve existing penal facilities, construct new penitentiaries, and ameliorate the physical conditions of detention. Nonetheless, prisoners in many facilities continued to experience unsanitary facilities, poor nutrition and health care, and occasionally harsh treatment by both prison staff and fellow inmates. Picsi prison near Chiclayo, for example, holds twice the number of inmates for which it was designed and has no running water. Illegal drugs, tuberculosis, and AIDS are at near-epidemic proportions in Lima's Lurigancho prison, the country's largest, containing nearly 25 percent of the male prison population. The prison in Huancayo is prone to flooding, and electrical wires are exposed in various parts of the building. Detainees, held temporarily in windowless cells in Lima's palace of justice, are not allowed outside for exercise and fresh air and are taken to the bathroom only once a day.
Since prison authorities reestablished control in 1992 in prisons formerly managed in all but name by Sendero, prisoner-on-prisoner violence and abuse of inmates by prison officials appears to have declined. However, corruption continued to be a problem among prison staff, who were implicated in offenses such as sexual blackmail, selling narcotics and weapons, and arranging escapes. Prisoners often have to bribe guards to get a mattress and report that guards subject inmates to beatings, torture, and degrading treatment.
The Government showed a greater willingness to clamp down on corruption than in past years. Prison authorities fired some officials at Lima's San Jorge facility for charging money to permit relatives to give food and medicine to some inmates. In late September, the authorities removed from duty the warden and a number of corrupt police guards at Lurigancho prison. The Government built a number of prisons around the country and completed renovation of two of the largest facilities for terrorism convicts and detainees, Castro Castro in Lima and Yanamayo in Puno department. These projects helped alleviate the severe overcrowding in the prison system and improved the physical conditions in which many inmates must live.
d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile
The Constitution, the Criminal Code, and antiterrorist legislation delineate the arrest and detention process. However, a number of constitutional protections are suspended in emergency zones. For example, security forces do not need an arrest warrant; they may legally hold incommunicado those detained for treason or terrorism and deny them access to an attorney during the interrogation period, except when giving formal statements.
In areas not subject to a state of emergency, the law requires a judicial warrant for arrest, unless a perpetrator is caught in the act. In addition, the Organic Law of the National Police--in contradiction of the Constitution and other laws-- permits detention of an individual for any investigation. The authorities must arraign persons arrested within 24 hours (but they frequently violate this legal provision, according to informed observers), except in cases of terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, for which the limit is 15 to 30 days. If the military is the detaining authority, it must turn over detainees to the police within 24 hours (or as soon as practicable in remote areas). The military disregarded this law in many cases.
Detainees have the right to choose their own attorney, or the Government must provide counsel at no cost. Often this does not occur in practice, and human rights monitors report instances in which court clerks (or in one case, an army cook) were deputized to stand in as public defenders. There is no functioning bail system, although a form of provisional liberty is theoretically available for persons not accused of terrorism, espionage, or narcotics offenses. A 1993 modification to antiterrorism legislation authorized first-instance and superior court judges to order the unconditional release of terrorism defendants if there is insufficient evidence to bring a case against them. However, judges have not applied this law in practice; rather, persons accused of terrorism sometimes must wait until their cases have been reviewed and dismissed by the Supreme Court before they are freed, a process that often lasts more than a year after the defendant's arrest.
Juan Mallea, an evangelical pastor who drove a taxi to help support his family, was arrested in July 1993 when he drove a customer to a house that was being raided by antiterrorism police. The passenger turned out to be a member of Sendero Luminoso; the police accused Mallea of drawing a map found inside the house. They presented him publicly in striped jail clothes; Mallea later claimed that the antiterrorism police tortured him. Although independent handwriting experts testified that Mallea could not have been the author of the map, and despite being acquitted by a circuit court judge, the authorities did not free him until April, when the Lima superior court finally ruled in his favor.
Another 1993 modification to the antiterrorism laws restored a detainee's right to a prompt judicial determination of the legality of the detention ("habeas corpus"). In practice, however, this has proven to be ineffective; according to human rights attorneys, judges have denied the vast majority of such requests.
The Public Ministry inaugurated a National Registry of Detainees to track cases of persons arrested for terrorism offenses. Both the police and the military must report the names of anyone they detain within 24 hours. The Government also formalized the registry statutorily (it had been established provisionally in 1992) and created an interagency committee to oversee its operation and correct any problems. The Registry opened to the public in Lima in February; branch offices were inaugurated in Tarapoto, San Martin department, in September and in Ayacucho in November. Some registry users have commented that it is incomplete and that the military and police frequently do not provide informations on detainees in a timely fashion.
Apart from an interruption of its access in northern Huanuco department in April (see Section 1.g.), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) operations proceeded normally. The authorities permitted ICRC representatives to visit detainees in any place of detention, including prisons, jails, police stations, and military bases.
According to Justice Minister Vega, 80 percent of the country's prison population, or 16,000 of the 20,000 prisoners, consisted of accused persons awaiting trial. The special terrorism prosecutor's office reported that 4,888 persons awaited trial for terrorism or treason as of August 31. The average delay between arrest and civilian trial on criminal or terrorism charges was between 26 and 36 months. However, those tried on treason charges by military courts generally wait no longer than 40 days between the time of detention and the beginning of the trial.
Persons accused of terrorism must remain in custody while awaiting trial, no matter how little evidence there is against them. During this time, only immediate family members may visit them for a total of 15 minutes per month. Since the antiterrorism decrees took effect in 1992, there were numerous instances when the authorities arrested and detained people with very weak or no evidence against them. The police arrested Jesus Alfonso Castiglione, the owner and operator of a radio station in Huacho, in April 1993 when some of his possessions were found in an apartment in another city where a known terrorist was captured. Castiglione had been a tenant in the apartment a year before; he had left some of his belongings there as a security deposit and was unaware that the owner had decided to rent the apartment to someone else after he moved out. Despite the lack of evidence linking him to terrorism, a court convicted Castiglione in August, and he began serving a 20-year sentence while awaiting action on an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Although government regulations to end public displays of detainees were issued in January 1995, there were numerous cases in 1994 in which police or the military presented detainees in striped jail clothes to the media as terrorists. Occasionally such detainees were acquitted because they were innocent or for lack of evidence; many of those acquitted charged that they had been stigmatized by these public displays.
There were a number of arbitrary detentions as a result of abuse and misapplication of the Terrorist Amnesty Law, which Congress repealed effective November 1. Under its provisions, terrorists could have their sentences reduced or suspended if they gave authorities the names of terrorist leaders. This plea-bargaining option led many terrorists to accuse innocent people of being subversives, and the authorities detained hundreds of people around the country solely on the basis of such accusations.
The police first arrested journalist Javier Tuanama in October 1990 and accused him of belonging to MRTA. After a long judicial process, the courts finally acquitted Tuanama in March and released him from prison. However, just after he walked out of jail, the police rearrested him on another outstanding warrant: a "repentant" terrorist had accused Tuanama of recruiting young people for MRTA in Amazonas department in December 1990 (when he was in jail). A court acquitted Tuanama of two charges, but then sentenced him to 10 years in prison based on a third charge that he had given refuge to repentant MRTA members, despite retractions by the two terrorists who accused him. Tuanama has spent 4 years in prison.
The Government created two separate commissions to review cases of people unfairly detained for long periods. An executive branch commission, formed in February and consisting of several lawyers, reviews cases of individuals detained on terrorism charges. A second commission, established by the Congress in June and installed in December, will review both terrorism and criminal cases and recommend presidential "grace" for detainees who have waited long periods without a trial and who appear to be innocent.
Inconsistencies in the application of the terrorist amnesty law were also apparent. In October, in contravention of the anonymity clause in the law, President Fujimori publicly named a university rector and a superior court judge as repentant terrorists. The authorities detained the rector, Abner Chavez, and the judge, Luis Galindo, for 1 month after Fujimori's statement. After their release Chavez and Galindo denied having been Sendero supporters and announced plans to seek restitution for having been falsely accused.
Although the Constitution does not explicitly prohibit it, the Government did not practice involuntary exile of its citizens. Several public figures, however, remained in voluntary exile to escape what they perceived to be political persecution. Although others claimed they were in exile, they apparently fled from what appeared to be legitimate criminal charges.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The Peruvian system of criminal justice is generally based on the Napoleonic Code. A Public Ministry prosecutor investigates arrests and criminal complaints and then submits an opinion to a first-instance judge, who decides whether to indict. Following study of the case, the judge renders a verdict, which is then reviewed by a superior court prosecutor. The superior court prosecutor then submits an opinion on the case to a superior court judge, who holds a trial. Terrorism cases, on the other hand, are tried by anonymous superior court tribunals made up of three judges. Virtually all civilian court convictions are appealed to the Supreme Court.
Defendants have the right to be present at their trial, although there were instances of trials in absentia of fugitives (however, a 1993 modification to antiterrorism laws eliminated convictions in absentia). Although there were trials in absentia, they did not lead to convictions, but to acquittals or judgments in reserve until the defendant was in custody. Defendants have the right to counsel, but the Government often does not provide the indigent with qualified attorneys. Following an investigation and filing of charges, a judge renders a verdict. Sentences may be appealed to a panel of judges.
The judicial branch rarely has been fully independent of the executive. However, the 1993 Constitution contains a number of provisions, including an improved system for naming judges, that provides for a significantly more independent judiciary. President Fujimori provisionally appointed some two-thirds of the incumbent judges and prosecutors after he seized extraconstitutional powers in 1992. In 1993 the new Congress appointed an independent tribunal to review the 1992 dismissals of hundreds of judicial officials, to examine the qualifications of President Fujimori's appointees, and to replace those found to be unqualified. By December this tribunal completed its review of all the judges and prosecutors in Lima. The tribunal found a large number of provisional judges and prosecutors unqualified and replaced them. Human rights groups and independent observers applauded many of the changes, and reports of corruption decreased with respect to the reformed jurisdictions. At year's end, judicial officials outside Lima had not been reviewed.
The legislative and executive branches openly interfered with an ongoing judicial branch action when, in February, they approved a law that imposed a new voting formula on Supreme Court decisions concerning civil versus military jurisdiction. This law in effect gave jurisdiction over a sensitive human rights case (the La Cantuta case--see Section 1.a.) to the military court system.
There continued to be widespread charges of corruption and of suborning of judges, prosecutors, police, and witnesses at all stages of the judicial process, although the number of complaints in Lima decreased significantly after permanent judges were named to the Supreme and superior courts. Government efforts to reduce corruption included a salary raise for judges and a more active judicial branch control mechanism to investigate allegations of bribes. This office of control dismissed 19 career judges and 33 provisional judges for misconduct during the year; it fined another 215; and it admonished 439 for various irregularities. The Government's 1995 budget allocations include a 70 percent real increase in funds for the judiciary and a 149 percent real increase for the Public Ministry, whose responsibilities will dramatically increase once the long-delayed new Criminal Procedures Code is brought into force. The high cost of litigation limited access to the judicial system, as did the lack of public judicial services in many isolated areas of the country.
Civilian courts made limited progress in tackling the judicial backlog, a product of inefficiency, lack of infrastructure and personnel, archaic case law and criminal procedure law, and the high number of terrorism cases. According to the National Prisons Institute, there were 13,791 detainees awaiting trial throughout the country on June 30. Meanwhile, a backlog of 800 to 1,000 cases challenging the constitutionality of laws or official actions remained pending in the absence of actions to establish the Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees provided for in the new Constitution.
Sendero and MRTA threats and intimidation of judges were one of the justifications for President Fujimori's overhaul of the antiterrorism trial system in 1992. Civilian courts now try terrorism cases in anonymous tribunals made up of three "faceless" judges. An August 1992 decree law classified many terrorism cases as treason and therefore triable by military courts; the lesser cases are heard by civilian tribunals. In November Justice Minister Vega announced that he had proposed an end to the use of faceless judges to try civilians accused of terrorism, an end to military tribunal jurisdiction over civilians, and an end to the trial by faceless judges of minors charged with terrorism. These proposals were before the Council of Ministers at year's end.
Between September 1992 and August 1994, according to the official government newspaper, the military courts remanded 122 cases to civilian jurisdiction after finding that there was not enough evidence to try some individuals for treason. Informed observers believe that antiterrorism police in effect decide which cases are tried in military courts and which are tried in civilian courts. According to various human rights observers, approximately 80 percent of treason trials in military courts resulted in convictions; civilian terrorism tribunals, in contrast, convict only around 60 percent. Treason convictions carry sentences from 30 years to life in prison; there were 217 persons serving life sentences for treason at the end of 1994.
Proceedings in military courts do not meet internationally accepted standards for due process. Military trials are closed to the public and carried out in secrecy. Defense attorneys do not have access to the evidence, nor can they interview police or military witnesses (to protect their identities) prior to or during the trial. Military judges rarely have any legal background; they are active duty line officers. However, military justice system officials say they are making efforts to increase the number of judges with legal backgrounds. Military tribunals in theory must pass judgment within 10 days. A case may be appealed to the War Council, which has 10 days to make a decision. A final appeal to the Supreme Council of Military Justice must be acted on within 5 days. However, this calendar is subject to delays in a number of cases. Human rights groups charge that military trials have railroaded some defendants and sentenced them before their lawyers were even notified that the trial had begun.
Statistics for military prosecutions of civilians suggested greater care and selectivity in the application of treason laws to the most serious cases. In 1994 military courts prosecuted civilians in 356 treason cases compared to 315 in 1993, but imposed life sentences on 72 persons, compared to 117 in 1993. Although the proceedings in military courts for all practical purposes are summary, not all those prosecuted are convicted. The military courts acquitted defendants in 7 cases and remanded 53 cases to civil authorities. The Government has publicly recognized that military trials of civilians are a temporary, extraordinary measure out of step with international norms, to be reformed as soon as the situation in its judgment permits. The authorities also began a review process of military trials. In late 1993, this review process absolved Miguel Ruiz-Conejo, who had been wrongly convicted of treason in a military court, and ordered his release. In 1994 a special military tribunal annulled five life sentences after discovering procedural and other errors in reviewing those trials.
In late April, the Government postponed indefinitely implementation of a new Criminal Procedures Code that was to have taken effect on May 1. The new Code would have instituted accusatorial investigative and trial procedures. Instead, the Government established an interagency commission to "reconcile" the Code with the 1993 Constitution and present the Congress with a plan for the gradual application of the revised Code. Informed observers claimed that the Government postponed the Code's implementation because the National Police were unhappy with provisions that would grant more investigative authority to prosecutors; because the armed forces opposed a provision that would mean prosecution of military personnel in civilian court for crimes such as murder that do not come under the Military Code of Justice; and because the Public Ministry was not prepared in terms of budget or personnel to put the new Code into practice.
In 1993 an international panel of distinguished jurists visited Peru and studied the legal and judicial system to determine whether or not there was adequate due process, particularly in terrorism trials. The panel recommended eliminating military trials of civilians and reintroducing precepts of due process suspended by the 1992 antiterrorism decrees. When the jurists made their report public in April, President Fujimori and his Justice Minister rejected it as interference in Peru's internal affairs. The Government maintained that further changes in the law and procedures used in treason and terrorism cases must be linked to progress in pacification, as well as to reform of the judicial branch. The jurists' report stimulated a serious public debate.
The new Constitution provides for several new judicial institutions to help create a more effective and independent system of justice: an Office of the Defender of the People (a human rights ombudsman); a Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees (which would rule on the constitutionality of legislation and government actions); the National Judiciary Council (a permanent, independent entity in charge of testing, naming, confirming, and periodically evaluating and disciplining the country's judges and prosecutors); and a Judicial Academy (to train judges and prosecutors). The Congress passed legislation to define the structure and functions of only the last two institutions; it had not established the other entities by the end of the year, but did create the Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees in January 1995.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
The Constitution requires security forces to have a judicial warrant to enter a private dwelling, but this requirement is suspended in the emergency zones, and security forces in those areas routinely conduct searches of private homes without warrants. The law requires that a Public Ministry prosecutor be present during searches. There were plausible reports that, on occasion, police planted subversive pamphlets in the homes of persons they suspected of terrorism but could not otherwise arrest for lack of evidence. There were frequent credible reports of illegal telephone wiretaps. In August and September, several prominent journalists, opposition politicians, and retired military officers made credible claims that the Government's intelligence services followed them, videotaped them, and recorded their private conversations.
In Lima and other urban areas, the army conducted "sweep" operations in which soldiers surrounded and sealed off targeted neighborhoods to conduct house-to-house searches. They detained persons wanted for a crime and held for questioning those found with unregistered weapons, subversive material, or without identity documents. Public prosecutors routinely accompany these operations, and citizens made few complaints of serious abuses stemming from them.
A number of rural communities--with arms, training, and encouragement from the army--have organized self-defense forces, or rondas, to protect themselves against terrorist and bandit incursions. These have had a noticeable impact on curbing Sendero's presence in certain areas of the country. In some parts of Peru, rondas have existed for centuries as a form of social organization and to protect communities from invaders and rustlers. However, military authorities organized many of the newer rondas and sometimes coerced peasants into participating. As a regular practice and to a far greater degree, Sendero also forced peasants to join its military ranks, often for extended periods, coercing their participation in terrorist attacks and executions.
g. Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in Internal Conflicts
Although the Government stated that its security forces did not have a policy of indiscriminate violence against civilians, army troops nevertheless killed an undetermined number of noncombatants in the Upper Huallaga valley. Between March 29 and March 31, according to witnesses who testified before the local prosecutor, an army patrol detained and then killed between 8 and 12 villagers in Cayumba Chico, south of the city of Tingo Maria in Huanuco department. The army also began to deny access to the zone north of Tingo Maria and west of the Huallaga river to delegates of the ICRC. In the course of a claimed major sweep between April 5 and April 8, members of the army, using both helicopters and ground troops, entered the settlements of Molluna and Moena and, according to similar, credible accounts by numerous eyewitnesses, indiscriminately killed most of the population. In some cases rape and torture preceded the killing. The army reportedly fired rockets from helicopters at the settlements.
The exact number of dead was difficult to determine because the army closed the zone to nonmilitary personnel for 7 weeks, during which time remains could have been moved or buried, and because many of the residents were transient farm workers whose only relatives were unlikely to report them as missing. The Coordinadora decided to list only 25 persons as victims of the army operation--the only ones who could be identified by name, based on eyewitness reports and identified remains. The armed forces, the Congress, and the Attorney General's office undertook investigations into these killings. In November a special prosecutor responsible for investigating this incident brought charges in a civilian court against an army captain for ordering the deaths of at least eight persons. The army subsequently undertook other large-scale operations in other regions of the country without new claims of abuses, possibly indicating that commanders made a conscious effort to avoid what happened in April.
Although both the army and Sendero Luminoso violated humanitarian law in Peru's internal conflict, the latter was responsible for many more heinous violations than the former. Sendero frequently used arbitrary violence against civilians and nonmilitary targets. It continued to detonate powerful bombs in public places, indiscriminately killing and injuring dozens of bystanders, and persisted in its practice of entering villages and killing residents. Many of the victims were unarmed women and children. Terrorist bomb attacks perpetrated by Sendero and MRTA killed 14 people and injured 86.
In April, in one of its more gruesome massacres, a Sendero Luminoso column entered the village of Monterrico in the Mazamari district of Junin department, burned down houses, and tortured and beheaded 18 residents. In the same area in August residents discovered graves of several Ashaninka Indians believed to have been killed by Sendero (see also Section 5).
In armed confrontations, Sendero never took prisoners or attended to the wounded; its normal aim was to kill as many people as possible. Sendero also practiced forced military conscription of both adults and children. The law prohibits military conscription of children, and government forces respected this prohibition.
Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. While the Government generally respected this provision, there were many instances when government officials or members of the security forces harassed media representatives. The Government also used its economic power and the legal system to exert influence over the media.
The media represent a wide spectrum of information and opinion, with 8 television stations, 3 cable systems, 72 radio stations, and 16 daily newspapers in Lima alone. The media regularly criticize the Government and its policies. The Government owns a television network, a daily newspaper, and a radio station, none of which is particularly influential.
Opposition political parties and factions have access to the media. Television stations, although generally progovernment, provide regular access to opposition figures on a variety of news and public affairs programs. The written press is defined by extremes, with many leading newspapers and magazines either strongly for or against the Government.
The Government took steps to eliminate the applicability to the media of the Constitution's "habeas data" provision. This legal mechanism gives citizens the right to demand rectification for articles or reports they consider slanderous. Many journalists viewed this provision as a potential tool to censor and harass the press. As a result of these concerns, the government majority in Congress voted 56 to 1 on August 18 to remove from the Constitution the portion of the "habeas data" clause related to the press. Local journalists praised this action, as did the Inter-American Press Society which called the vote "an important step towards full observance of press freedom." However, the measure will not become law until the Congress approves it a second time in a subsequent legislative session and the President signs it.
On several isolated occasions, government officials took measures that interfered with press freedom. On April 15, President Fujimori personally ordered a Reuter television crew to erase video footage it had taken during his visit to a maximum security prison in Puno, which showed Sendero Luminoso prisoners reading a statement about their support for a then secret peace letter. The foreign correspondents' association protested the action but received no response from the Government.
Also in April, the military justice system indicted six retired generals on charges of "insulting the armed forces." The retired officers had, in various press interviews, criticized decisions by the army leadership. Despite their retired status, they were subjected to court-martial. In addition, a military court summoned a journalist for the opposition daily La Republica in April to explain his February 13 interview with one of the indicted generals who had criticized the army's handling of the La Cantuta case.
On April 30, army personnel arrested and beat radio journalist Cesar Flores in Huanta, Ayacucho department. The day before, Flores had denounced the army's mistreatment of another journalist. The army held Flores at the local army base for 6 days on trumped-up charges that he had not done his obligatory military duty.
In March a Lima radio journalist began receiving anonymous telephone calls threatening him with death if he did not stop criticizing the Government. When the journalist complained to police, they sent him official notices to appear for interrogation regarding alleged terrorist actions that had occurred in far-off provinces. The harassment stopped after international human rights monitors expressed interest in the case.
On September 2, the commander of the first military region, army Lieutenant General Howard Rodriguez, ordered his staff to expose the film of a La Republica photographer who had shot footage showing the General handing out calendars and posters of President Fujimori. General Rodriguez also allegedly threatened the reporter. Although observers agreed that the General's original activities constituted a probable violation of the constitutionally mandated political neutrality of the armed forces, the authorities took no action against him.
The authorities continued to detain 15 journalists for trial on terrorism charges at the end of 1994; the courts acquitted 13 others of terrorism charges during the year. However, their detentions did not appear to be the result of a government policy to persecute journalists.
The Government also exercises substantial influence over the media through the placement of advertisements. Some media owners claim that the Government also encourages private advertisers to boycott opposition publications and uses tax investigations to harass the opposition media. Many media owners are involved in other economic activities that require government licensing or involve bidding on government contracts. All these factors result in a degree of self- censorship, particularly in the broadcast media.
The Government often restricted opposition media access by refusing to send news releases and other information to some magazines and limiting access to official transportation when the President visited remote parts of the country or traveled to other nations. However, after widespread criticism of the secrecy that characterized the army's April sweep operation in Huanuco department, the military authorities began to report publicly on a more regular basis the results of their operations.
The Government also used the legal system to keep opposition journalists off balance. Enrique Zileri, publisher of the opposition weekly magazine Caretas, was subject to a judicial order to seize his possessions in July. The judge who signed the order immediately took a vacation, leaving a substitute judge to carry out the action. The attempted seizure resulted from accusations by a convicted felon who objected to his name being used in a Caretas story on drug trafficking. The case had supposedly ended some time earlier, when the superior court had ruled in Zileri's favor, yet somehow a second case for the same alleged offense was initiated. Last-minute action by Zileri and his attorney prevented the police contingent that appeared on his doorstep from enforcing the seizure. An editorial in the July 27 edition of the conservative daily newspaper El Comercio said the case had "awakened suspicions" about the "series of intimidating actions taken against" members of the political opposition.
As with other sectors of society, the media were not immune to Sendero Luminoso attacks. The most notorious example of Sendero violence against the media occurred on March 14, when the house of Patricio Ricketts, a columnist with the daily newspaper Expreso, was bombed. The attack, which killed a passerby and wounded Ricketts' daughter, appeared to be in retaliation for a Ricketts column titled "Sendero is annihilated," which had appeared in Expreso the previous day. Officials at Channel 2, the most progovernment television station (and the site of a 1992 Sendero car-bombing), also reported receiving regular Sendero threats. Even opposition- leaning Channel 9 arranged for a group of soldiers to occupy a floor of its central office building as a form of insurance against Sendero attacks.
The Government generally respected academic freedom as long as it did not involve direct confrontation with security practices. The Government usually does not interfere in the teaching, discussion, or publication of a variety of opinions; however, all forms of indoctrination by subversive groups are prohibited, and teachers who express support of terrorist ideology are subject to prosecution.
Sendero and, to a lesser extent, MRTA, have for a long time used threats and abuse against faculty, staff, and students in an effort to gain control of a number of universities. However, since the military took control of campus security at several universities in 1991 and 1992, the terrorist groups have maintained a lower profile.
b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association
The Constitution expressly provides for these rights, and the authorities normally respect them in practice, except in areas under a state of emergency (where the right of assembly is suspended). Public meetings in plazas or streets require advance permission, which may be denied only for reasons of public safety or health. Municipal authorities usually approved permits for demonstrations in Lima and nonemergency zones. Unauthorized public meetings occurred, and the police occasionally used clubs, tear gas, and water cannons to break up marches or disperse large crowds, sometimes using excessive force. The police interrupted both unruly and peaceful gatherings this way in Lima, using these tactics against striking public service workers, small political rallies, and a march by students protesting human rights violations. In October police fired on a union march by dock workers in the port city of Callao, wounding two protesters.
c. Freedom of Religion
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government respects this provision in practice. The Constitution recognizes Roman Catholicism "as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral development of the nation," but also establishes the separation of church and State. Conversion to other religions is respected, and missionaries are allowed to enter the country and proselytize.
Sendero Luminoso rejects religion and continued to threaten and intimidate religious workers. In addition to threats, Sendero terrorists threw a stick of dynamite at a Mormon chapel in Chilca in June.
d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation
The Constitution provides for the right of free movement, and there are no political or legal constraints on foreign travel or emigration. However, the authorities can restrict people with pending criminal and, in some cases, civil charges from leaving the country. Freedom of movement is suspended in the emergency zones but is generally permitted under control of the army. Nonetheless, the authorities may detain travelers in the emergency zones at any time. During the army's operation in northern Huanuco department in April, the army closed a zone north of Tingo Maria and west of the Huallaga river for several weeks (see Section 1.g.).
The Constitution prohibits the revocation of citizenship. Repatriates (both voluntary and involuntary) are not treated any differently than other citizens. Peru has provisions for granting asylum and refugee status; the procedures have been used by small groups of persons in recent years, principally Cubans. Refugees are not forced to return to countries in which they fear persecution.
On occasion, Sendero tried to interrupt free movement within the country, conducting "armed strikes" during which civilians were told to stay home or risk reprisals. Public and private vehicles operating during such strikes were subject to attack. Sendero's armed strikes were significantly less successful in 1994 than in previous years.
Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government
The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to choose and change the laws and officials that govern them, and citizens exercise this right in practice. Voting is mandatory by secret ballot for all citizens between the ages of 18 and 70; however, prisoners and members of the armed forces and police are ineligible to vote. The law bars only groups that advocate violent overthrow of the Government from participating in the political process. The Fujimori administration tolerated opposition groups representing a wide variety of opinion and ideology and did not hinder them from criticizing the Government.
The campaign for the 1995 presidential and congressional elections began in late 1994. Under a provision of the new Constitution, President Fujimori will seek reelection. In October an unprecedented 26 political groups representing a wide political spectrum launched presidential bids, though the independent National Elections Board disqualified nearly half for failure to meet registration requirements.
Opposition politicians, human rights groups, and the media all complained of the incumbent's unfettered access to government resources to promote his candidacy. There were already a limited number of reports of instances of irregularities in the campaign, such as government harassment of, and spying on, opposition members. Nevertheless, opposition candidates were able to campaign across the country and hold rallies (including in the government-declared emergency zones), buy advertisements, and speak freely to the press.
There are no laws that restrict women and minorities from participating in government and politics; both women and minorities (including indigenous people), for example, are represented in the Congress and some senior government leadership positions. There are 7 congresswomen out of 80 members. Two of the 14 cabinet ministers and several vice ministers are women, as is the Attorney General and a supreme court justice. Four of the 26 people declaring candidacies in the 1995 presidential campaign were women, though 2 failed to meet election board requirements, and 1 later withdrew.
President Fujimori is from a racial minority. There are two or three indigenous congressmen, and one recent vice president was a Quechua speaker. There are some indigenous prosecutors, and one of the declared presidential candidates is a Quechua speaker from Ancash. However, it is difficult for indigenous people to reach the highest leadership levels in both the public and private sectors. Discrimination has often led to exclusion of these groups from leadership positions in government and business (see Section 5).
Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
The Government allowed numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) dedicated to monitoring and advancing human rights to operate independently, although government officials often criticized them. The military often restricted the ability of local and international human rights workers to investigate human rights abuses; the Government usually ignored human rights groups' requests for information; and it prohibited many human rights monitors--but not the ICRC--from visiting key prisons. Verbal attacks by the Government against both domestic and international human rights monitors suggested a hardening of the Fujimori administration's attitude toward the role of NGO's (especially those associated with foreigners) in bringing human rights abuses to public attention. Legitimate fears of physical attack by Sendero severely limited the ability of human rights monitors to carry out their work.
The vast majority of Peruvian human rights NGO's are independent and generally objective in their views. Several private human rights groups joined in 1985 to form an umbrella organization known as the National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights, or Coordinadora. Over 40 groups from around the country are either voting or observer members of the Coordinadora. The Coordinadora maintains a policy of not mixing politics with human rights (although its individual members may occasionally do so, but not under the Coordinadora's name), and its members function as credible, thorough, and impartial observers. The previously established dialog between the Government and the Coordinadora stalled over dissatisfaction with progress on key agenda items and Congress' action in the La Cantuta case.
Local groups repeatedly denounced Sendero Luminoso as the largest violator of human rights in Peru, while simultaneously documenting the many violations by government forces. In fact, strong documentary evidence proves that Coordinadora members have been balanced in their denunciations of abuses by both sides. Nevertheless, President Fujimori, other government officials, members of the business community, and the progovernment press often unfairly accused human rights groups of being defenders of terrorism and of criticizing only government abuses, not those of Sendero. For example, in January government-party Congresswoman Martha Chavez called for greater congressional oversight of NGO's on the grounds that some of them were allegedly "financing terrorism." However, she produced no evidence to prove her accusation. The Coordinadora and other organizations responded by noting that by law their accounting was transparent and proved that they were not channeling funds to terrorist groups.
In April the Government's public attacks on human rights groups stepped up as those groups denounced the reported army killings in sweep operations in Huanuco department. President Fujimori criticized human rights organizations, claiming they had not denounced human rights violations by terrorists. Health Minister Jaime Freundt publicly accused human rights NGO's of defending Sendero Luminoso. In addition to reversing for 7 weeks the policy of allowing the ICRC access to the zone where the operation took place, the political-military commander of the Huallaga front, where the Huanuco killings took place, alleged to the media in April that the ICRC was collaborating with terrorists. Finally, on April 27, the government-controlled Congress passed a resolution condemning the Coordinadora for supposedly lying and exaggerating its denunciations of the Huanuco killings and thereby "damaging the image and prestige of Peru."
In early May, a Ministry of the Presidency official, Dora Solari, and a government-party congressman, Hugo Zamatta, without offering proof, accused unnamed NGO's of having links to terrorism. Also in May executive branch officials, including President Fujimori and Justice Minister Vega, boycotted a visit by Pierre Sane, the Secretary General of Amnesty International; Vega wrote to Sane before the visit telling him he was not welcome in Peru. Executive branch officials also refused to meet with a human rights delegation from the New York Bar Association and would not permit the delegates to visit any of the country's prisons. In late September, President Fujimori again criticized international human rights organizations, alleging that they were "defending the human rights of terrorists and not the public." A few days later, the Congress passed a motion authorizing its oversight committee to investigate NGO's use of funds. In December President Fujimori publicly labeled the Coordinadora as terrorist accomplices for its alleged "complicitous silence." In a spirited public rebuttal the next day, the Coordinadora Executive Secretary pointed out that since its foundation the Coordinadora had condemned acts committed by Sendero and MRTA.
Some human rights workers were the subject of threats and harassment from unknown sources. One, who worked for a Lima-based human rights group and a local radio station, received repeated anonymous telephone calls advising him to stop criticizing the Government or he would be killed. In October a judge issued an arrest warrant for another human rights monitor working for a church group in Chimbote because he was reportedly associated with two environmentalists detained on terrorism charges. Human rights groups affirmed the innocence of both the environmentalists and the monitor.
Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status
The Constitution provides for equal rights for all citizens and specifically prohibits discrimination based on ethnic origin, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, or economic condition. Nevertheless, discrimination against women and minorities is extensive. Discrimination based on sexual preference is also frequent. According to Peru's only gay rights group, the Homosexual Movement of Lima, gays and lesbians are often the target of harassment by police, who rarely investigate hate crimes against them. On August 11, police raided a gay bar in Lima, allegedly beat some of the patrons, and arrested 76 people without making any charges. They held some of the customers in custody for 7 hours before releasing them.
The Constitution grants women equality with men, and laws on marriage, divorce, and property rights do not discriminate against women. Nevertheless, tradition often impedes access by women to leadership roles in major social, business, and political institutions. However, there is a small but growing number of women in leadership positions in the Government (see Section 3).
Violence against women, including rape and spousal abuse, is a chronic problem, according to local women's groups and law enforcement offices. On average there were 326 complaints of violence against women per month, according to these sources. In the last 10 years, there were over 59,600 reported cases of violence against women; many additional cases, however, go unreported. There are special women's police stations in Lima and other major cities to deal with the rising number of complaints of domestic violence. In addition, women's groups have established legal aid and health centers for women. Judicial authorities do take legal action against perpetrators of domestic violence. However, one of the reasons that special women's police stations were established was that regular policemen often do not take seriously accusations by women against their husbands. Although the Government has passed strong legislation against domestic violence, this is not always translated into action at lower levels, especially outside the major cities.
Although prohibited by law, sexual harassment in the workplace is a common problem. According to a study by the Flora Tristan Women's Center, 62 percent of working women knew of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. Women's groups assert that this problem is on the rise and is exacerbated by the country's high rate of unemployment.
Sendero Luminoso also targeted women's organizations, claiming that communal kitchens and the "glass of milk" program--managed principally by women--have links with the Government.
The Government does not adequately address children's human rights and welfare. President Fujimori has on numerous occasions emphasized the need to improve education at all levels, but the Government does not provide sufficient funding for the public schools. Millions of children suffer from malnutrition and live in extreme poverty. In addition, minors can be tried as adults for terrorism offenses (see below).
A large percentage of children are born out of wedlock; many fathers fail to support their children. In addition, orphans have become common, due in large part to the guerrilla war; one newspaper estimated the number of war orphans at 55,000. It is not unusual for indigent parents to give up their children, either through adoption or by sending them away as house servants. In Lima alone, there are thousands of homeless, orphaned, or abandoned children. Many children are forced to work in the informal economy to support themselves; according to the Movement of Children of Christian Workers, the number of children under the age of 16 obliged to work exceeds 200,000.
Violence against children is a serious problem. Approximately half of all rapes are perpetrated against minors. According to the director of Lima's children's hospital, 600,000 children have been the victims of abandonment and physical violence.
Decree Law 25564, issued by President Fujimori in June 1992, provides for minors aged 15 to 18 to be tried as adults for terrorism offenses. The law was issued in response to Sendero's frequent use of minors in acts of terrorism. Several dozen minors are awaiting trial or serving time in various prisons. In October 1993, the Children's Rights Committee of the United Nations reported that Peruvian minors accused of terrorism "do not benefit from the safeguards or guarantees normally offered by the juvenile administration of justice system."
Although hampered by a lack of resources, the Government has taken some measures to safeguard children's rights. For example, in February the Government stiffened the penalties for rape and violence against children; conviction of rape of a minor can now mean life imprisonment, depending on the circumstances. The Justice Ministry administers several children's defense centers around the country which work to protect the rights of children and deal with cases of violence against minors. In 1994 training for police officers included a course on children's rights. In addition the Government announced it would build 30 to 40 homes for orphaned and abandoned children; it inaugurated one of these shelters in Lima in September.
The 1993 Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race and guarantees the right of all citizens to speak their native language. However, Peru's large indigenous population faces pervasive discrimination and social prejudice, in addition to suffering many of the severe human rights abuses cited in this report. Because of geographic isolation, government centralization, lack of organization, and social marginalization, indigenous people are in general unable to participate in decisions affecting their lands, cultures, traditions, and the allocation of natural resources. These decisions are made by the central Government in Lima. Particularly in the jungle regions, colonists, coca cultivators, guerrillas, and business interests steadily encroach on native lands, many seeking to exploit natural resources. Indigenous groups fear that Articles 88 and 89 of the Constitution, which assign to the State any native lands "in abandonment," will mean the loss and sale to commercial interests of traditional land. Some Amazon groups have expressed concern over the possible effects on their communities and the environment of oil and gas exploration in the Camisea area. Malnutrition and disease are rampant among many of these tribes.
The law generally protects the civil and political rights of indigenous people to the same extent as the rights of other citizens. However, many indigenous groups live in isolated areas, which affect the Government's ability to offer them services, security, and enforcement and protection of civil and political rights.
The largest indigenous groups are speakers of Quechua and Aymara (recognized as official languages), but there are dozens of smaller native language groups. Indigenous people lack access to public services and support in their native lands, and investment is focused largely on the coast. The Government's lack of investment in traditional indigenous areas has been aggravated in recent years by the presence of Sendero Luminoso in many such places.
Sendero Luminoso remains by far the most egregious violator of the rights of indigenous people. It continued to target violence against the Ashaninka tribe in Peru's central jungle. The Coordinadora estimated that between 20 and 40 Ashaninka communities have disappeared as a result of Sendero violence, and that more than 10,000 Ashaninkas have been displaced. As many as 3,000 Ashaninkas may be trapped in zones under Sendero oppression. In late August, unconfirmed reports indicated that common graves with the bodies of Ashaninka natives were discovered; the authorities said they believed the graves may contain the remains of victims of Sendero violence.
Peru's population includes several small racial minorities, the largest of which are blacks of African descent and Asians. Blacks, who tend to be concentrated along the coast, face particularly pervasive discrimination and social prejudice and are among the poorest groups in Peru. This discrimination excludes blacks from leadership roles in government, military, and business institutions. Both the navy and the air force reportedly have unwritten policies that exclude blacks from the officer corps. According to Peru's two black human rights groups, police routinely detain persons of African descent on suspicion of committing crimes for no other reason than the color of their skin, and police rarely act on complaints of crime against blacks. The human rights groups also note that blacks tend to be relegated to servants' jobs; the few blacks who have been relatively successful financially have done so in the sports and entertainment fields.
People with Disabilities
Although the Constitution states that disabled persons "have the rights to respect of their dignity and to a regime of protection, attention, readaptation and security," the Government spends relatively little on assisting the handicapped or preventing discrimination against them. There is little public infrastructure with facilities for people with disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps on streets or in buildings, and no law mandating access for them. Disabled persons face discrimination when seeking employment; many are reduced to begging in the streets.
Section 6 Worker Rights
a. The Right of Association
The new Constitution recognizes the right to organize a trade union, to engage in collective negotiations, and to strike. These rights are to be exercised democratically, and the State is to promote the peaceful resolution of labor disputes. The Constitution states, however, that the right to strike must take into account broader social interests. It also states that employers may not require membership or nonmembership in a union as a condition of employment.
About 7 percent of the estimated 8.5 million persons in the work force belong to organized labor unions. Up to three-quarters of Peruvian workers work in the informal sector of the economy, which operates largely beyond government supervision and taxation. Existing unions represent a cross-section of political opinion. Though some unions have been traditionally associated with political groups, unions are prohibited by law from engaging in explicitly political, religious, or profit-making activities. There are no restrictions on membership in international bodies.
Workers from organized trades, teachers, and government unions struck more frequently than in 1993, seeking benefits in accordance with the improved economic situation they perceive. Reprisals against striking workers are reportedly infrequent.
Union members and officials have been targets of terrorist assassination and intimidation attempts. The labor movement and its leaders have been generally hostile to terrorist groups and have fought to prevent or reduce terrorist infiltration into the labor movement; however, the Government detained some union officials suspected of terrorist links.
In March the International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee of Experts' annual review of compliance with ILO conventions criticized a number of restrictive practices and asked the Government to take initiatives to amend its labor legislation so as to bring it into conformity with the conventions to which Peru is a party.
b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively
Although the Constitution recognizes the right of public and private workers to organize, bargain collectively, and strike, it states that these rights must be exercised in harmony with broader social interests. It excludes public employees exercising management or decisionmaking authority, as well as members of the police and military, from the right to organize or strike. However, both judiciary branch and Lima municipal workers conducted strikes in late 1994 to protest salary and working conditions.
Labor regulations promulgated prior to the 1993 approval of the new Constitution provide that workers can form unions based on profession, employment, or geographic location. The regulations exclude temporary, probationary, apprentice, or management employees from union membership. They require a minimum of 100 members to form trade unions by branch of activity, occupation, or for various occupations; and a minimum of 20 workers to form a union within a company. They also limit the number of union officials, the amount of time they may devote to union business on company time, and require them to be active members of the union.
Labor regulations set the number of union representatives who can participate in collective bargaining negotiations (a minimum of 3, maximum of 12), and establish the negotiating timetable. The management negotiating team cannot exceed the size of the workers' team; both sides may have attorneys and professional experts in attendance as advisers. A majority of all workers in a company, whether union members or not, must approve a strike by a secret ballot. A second vote must be taken upon petition of 20 percent or more of the workers.
The law permits companies unilaterally to propose temporary changes of work schedules, conditions, and wages and to suspend for up to 90 days collective bargaining agreements if required by force majeure or economic conditions, provided they give 15 days' notice to employees. If workers dispute the proposed changes, the Labor Ministry is to resolve the dispute based upon criteria of "reasonableness" and "economic necessity." In such cases employers are to authorize vacation time and in general adopt measures that avoid aggravating the employment situation.
A conciliation and arbitration system resolves disputes in collective bargaining impasses, but union officials complain that their proportionate share of the cost of arbitration exceeds their resources. They also state that increasing numbers of companies utilize a policy of hiring workers on temporary, personal services contracts to prevent union affiliation. This has become an issue of contention between organized labor and employers and is one of several concerns that labor has raised in international forums. Employers deny the accusation of antiunion bias and assert that labor stability provisions of the law have made long-term commitments to workers too expensive.
The law does not prohibit antiunion discrimination, and there are no effective measures to resolve such complaints. No legal provisions require employers who commit antiunion discrimination to reinstate workers fired for union activities.
Special regulations permitting greater flexibility in application for the Labor Code in export and duty free zones provide for the use of temporary labor as needed, flexibility in labor contracts, and a wage system based upon supply and demand. As a result, workers in duty free zones are unable to unionize.
c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor, as well as imprisonment for debt. However, there are periodic reports of the practice of forced labor in remote mountainous Andean and Amazonian jungle regions of the country. In response to one complaint filed with the ILO, the Government acknowledged the existence of such practices and asserted it had taken measures to end abuses, such as closing down and fining clandestine recruitment agencies and opening a labor and social welfare office in Huaypetue, where forced labor abuses had occurred.
d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children
Education through primary school is compulsory and free. However, a high percentage of school-age children work rather than attend daytime classes, with only a small number of such children attending classes at night. The minimum legal age for employment is 16. Labor law contains special provisions for workers between the ages of 16 and 21. Their apprenticeship cannot exceed 18 months, they must be paid at least the minimum wage, should be accorded specialized training, and can comprise no more than 15 percent of a company's work force. Given Peru's widespread poverty, children work in the informal economy without government supervision of wages or conditions from a very early age to help support their families. Child labor is heavily used in the agricultural sector and to mine gold, but not in other major export industries, such as petroleum or fisheries.
e. Acceptable Conditions of Work
The Constitution provides that the State should promote social and economic progress and occupational education. It states that workers should receive a "just and sufficient" wage, to be determined by the Government in consultation with labor and business representatives, and "adequate protection against arbitrary dismissal." The current minimum wage is about $57 (130 soles) per month and is generally considered inadequate to support a worker and family.
The Constitution also provides for a 48-hour workweek, a weekly day of rest, and yearly vacation. It prohibits discrimination in the workplace. While occupational health and safety standards exist, the Government lacks the resources to monitor or enforce compliance. Employers and workers generally agree upon compensation for industrial accidents on an individual basis. The Government introduced reforms in 1993 eliminating the need to prove culpability to obtain workman's compensation for injuries. There are no provisions for workers to remove themselves from dangerous work place situations without jeopardy to continued employment.