Congressional Colloquy

20 June 1996

A Congressional Colloquy on human rights abuses in Perú, and Lori's case in particular, was held on Thursday, June 20th. It was co-hosted by Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), and Bill Richardson (D-NM) and sponsored by The Fund for New Priorities in America under the direction of Maurice Paprin. Over 80 people attended including legislative aides to members of the House and Senate, members of human rights organizations, and the press. It was discussed on public radio stations that night and in The Nation (July 15/22 issue).

The Colloquy was moderated by Sanford Ungar, Dean, School of Communications, American University. The first half of the session focused on the Peruvian political setting, human rights abuses in Perú and options for international action, as discussed by Jo-Marie Burt, North American Congress on Latin America; Coletta A. Youngers, Washington Office on Latin America; Anne Manuel, Human Rights Watch:Americas; Carlos Marin, Amnesty International; and Larry Birns, Council on Hemispheric Affairs.

The second half focused on Lori's case with presentations by Rhoda and Mark Berenson, Thomas H. Nooter, Esq., Ramsey Clark, Esq., and Congressional Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Benjamin Gilman and Jerrold Nadler.

Some of the key points brought out were (1) that Perú practices a form of government in which there are no real checks and balances and no real separation of governmental powers among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches and (2) that the Peruvian military justice system does not comply with international judicial norms of due process and is in gross violation of human rights. These points are also discussed in What has Perú done wrong?.