Peru protests: Amnesty to investigate “possible crimes under international law”

The international human rights organization has sent a team of investigators that is only deployed “in situations of extreme gravity”

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has sent a crisis team to Peru to investigate “serious human rights violations and possible crimes under international law”,  in the context of the deadly protests that have rocked the country since December, it announced Monday.

“Our team will investigate human rights violations, with the intention of contributing to the efforts of Peruvian organizations in identifying the alleged criminal responsibility of the authorities, including at the highest level,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. 

The violence has left 48 people dead with 10 more civilians killed in accidents or other issues related to the blockades.

She highlighted that the specialized continental crisis response team being sent to Peru “is only deployed in situations of extreme gravity, when there are indications of possible crimes under international law”.

Amnesty will conduct interviews, analyze documents, and study photos and videos with a view to corroborating allegations of human rights abuses, presenting its preliminary findings at a press conference in Lima at the end of its visit.

The protests were sparked when former President Pedro Castillo was removed from office in December after he attempted to dissolve congress ahead of an impeachment vote he was expected to survive. He was replaced in office by his Vice President, Dina Boluarte.

Protesters have been calling for early elections. An initial motion to bring the vote forward from 2026 to 2024 was approved, but it must be voted on again to be considered definite. The issue is due to be debated by Peru’s congress today.

“The crisis in Peru has its nuances, but the bottom line is that Boluarte & the current congress are now eroding democracy in real time,” tweeted political analyst Will Freeman.

A survey by the Institute of Peruvian Studies found that 75% of Peruvians want Boluarte to resign and 73% want elections in 2023 rather than 2024.

Castillo’s year and a half in office was beset by political instability and corruption scandals. However, many considered him – a former rural schoolteacher and trade unionist born to illiterate parents – a rare representative of Peru’s rural poor in a political establishment ruled by urban elites. He narrowly won the 2021 presidential elections over Keiko Fujimori, the right-wing daughter of former dictator President Alberto Fujimori, who has been convicted of human rights abuses and corruption.

-with information from Reuters


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