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This report was updated 3/11/14; see Appendix H: Errata for more information.
Peru is a constitutional, multi-party republic. Ollanta Humala Tasso of the Peruvian Nationalist Party (part of the Gana Peru electoral alliance) won the June 2011 national elections in a vote widely considered free and fair. Security forces reported to civilian authorities and committed some human rights abuses.
The most serious human rights problems included violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and corruption that undermined the application of the law.
The following human rights problems also were reported: harsh prison conditions, abuse of detainees and inmates by prison security forces, lengthy pretrial detention and inordinate trial delays, intimidation of the media, limits on religious freedom, incomplete registration of internally displaced persons (IDPs), discrimination against women, and socio-environmental conflicts that frequently turned violent. There also was discrimination against individuals with disabilities, members of racial and ethnic minority groups, indigenous persons, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons, and persons with HIV/AIDS. Other problems were a lack of labor law enforcement and the exploitation of child labor, particularly in informal sectors.
The government took steps to investigate, and in some cases prosecute or otherwise punish, public officials who committed abuses. Officials sometimes engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
The terrorist organization Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) was responsible for killings and other human rights abuses, including kidnapping and forced recruitment of child soldiers, extortion, and intimidation.
a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life
The government or its agents did not commit any politically motivated killings; however, during a July 3 social protest in Lima, security forces killed one protester and injured five others. On July 15, the Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation to determine if the case merited formal prosecution. The decision remained pending as of September. The Ministries of Interior and Defense investigate allegations of abuses by security forces.
On July 31, the Supreme Court ruled that Eduardo Cruz Sanchez’s death during the 1997 rescue of hostages from the Japanese ambassador’s residence (the Chavin de Huantar case) was an extrajudicial execution. The court absolved three high-level officials (former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos, former army commander Nicolas Hermoza Rios, and former army intelligence advisor Roberto Huaman Azcurra) of the accusation that they had ordered Cruz Sanchez’s death. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights accepted this case in 2011, but at year’s end hearings had not yet begun.
On August 1, audio recordings appeared on YouTube of a May 2012 conversation among Juan Jimenez, then minister of justice; Pedro Cateriano, then the government’s legal representative for the Chavin de Huantar case; Cesar San Martin, then president of the Supreme Court; and Judge Carmen Rojjasi, one of the judges who ruled on the Chavin de Huantar case. Some observers suggested the recordings reflected government interference in the judicial process and attempts to influence the case’s outcome. On August 6, the Public Prosecutor’s Office determined that Jimenez’ actions did not merit prosecution. As of September the Public Prosecutor’s Office was reviewing the case to investigate who recorded the conversation. The nongovernmental organization (NGO) Pro-Human Rights Association (APRODEH) stated it would submit the recordings to the CIDH for review and consideration as evidence of judicial interference. At year’s end the CIDH had not released a decision about accepting the recordings.
On August 9, the Supreme Court sentenced members of the Colina Group (a number of army officers accused of extrajudicial killings in the 1990s) and officials who directed the group. The court sentenced Vladimiro Montesinos, Nicolas de Bari Hermoza, Santiago Martin Rivas, Juan Rivero Lazo, Julio Salazar Monroe, and Carlos Pichilinguel to 25 years in prison for their responsibility in ordering the extrajudicial killings of 15 persons in Barrios Altos, Lima, in 1991. The court sentenced Jesus Sosa Saavedra, Nelson Carbajal, and Angel Pino Diaz to 20 years in prison and sentenced Federico Navarro and Fernando Rodriguez Zabalbeascoa to 15 years in prison for their roles in the extrajudicial killings. The court acquitted two members of the group: Alberto Pinto Cardenas and Pedro Santillan Galdos.
On September 3, the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that a 1986 navy operation during which 133 Shining Path members were killed following an uprising in Lima’s El Fronton prison did not constitute a crime against humanity. APRODEH and the Ombudsman’s Office criticized the ruling as an example of impunity.
In September a national court found army brigade commander Carlos Alberto Paz Figueroa and Colonel Yorvil Tavara Olea guilty of the 1990 disappearance of Professor Ruben Villanuava Toro in Huancavelica Region. They were sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 100,000 new soles ($35,700).
Retired army colonel Telmo Hurtado pled guilty in 2012 to the 1985 killing of 69 villagers in Accomarca, Ayacucho Region. In subsequent hearings Hurtado implicated other army officers as active participants in the crimes. At year’s end Hurtado remained in jail while his trial continued.
Shining Path members conducted terrorist acts that resulted in killings and injuries of security forces and civilian deaths (see section 1.g.). Members of two Shining Path factions conducted 50 terrorist acts (including armed actions) in remote coca-growing areas that resulted in the killings of three soldiers, injuries to three police and three soldiers, and two civilian deaths in the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro River Valleys (VRAEM) and the Upper Huallaga Valley (UHV) emergency zones. The two emergency zones were located in parts of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, Huanuco, Junin, San Martin, and Ucayali regions.
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances during the year.
The law prohibits such practices. Local NGOs, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, and the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) reported that torture continued to be a problem, primarily within the police force, and stated that the government did not effectively prevent and punish those who committed such abuses. While the government took some steps to provide access to rehabilitation services, local NGO Psychosocial Attention Center reported there were deficiencies in the system that needed improvement. On January 21, UNCAT issued a report stating that it received numerous reports of torture and mistreatment in custody by law enforcement and security officials. The committee expressed concern at the lack of thorough investigations and the small number of convictions. The committee also expressed concern that the fundamental legal safeguards for persons detained by police were not always respected and highlighted the lack of a specific registry for cases of torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and punishment. The committee further expressed concern at reports about violence by law enforcement personnel in the context of apprehension and stated there appeared to be no regular assessments of cases of torture allegations based on the Istanbul Protocol of detained persons.
One-third of the 144 victims prior to 2013 whose cases were being monitored by the local NGO Human Rights Commission (COMISEDH) died or suffered permanent physical disabilities as a result of torture. COMISEDH did not report any new cases of torture for the year. According to COMISEDH, many victims do not make formal complaints about their torture, and those who do have trouble obtaining judicial redress and adequate compensation.
Allegations of abuse most often arose immediately following an arrest, when families were prohibited from visiting suspects and when attorneys had limited access to detainees. In some cases police and security forces threatened or harassed victims, relatives, and witnesses to prevent them from filing charges of human rights violations.
A local NGO and the Ombudsman’s Office reported that police investigating a human trafficking case and responsible for custody of a 16-year-old trafficking victim on June 5-13 made inappropriate comments to the victim, drank alcohol while on duty with her, and asked her to go out to a bar with them, which the victim refused to do. The Ministry of Interior conducted an internal investigation and concluded there was no wrongdoing. As of September an Ombudsman’s Office investigation continued.
In June 2012, during antimining protests in Cajamarca, national police used excessive force in a confrontation with human rights lawyers Genoveva Gomez, from the Ombudsman’s Office, and Amparo Abanto, from the National Human Rights Coordinator, who were monitoring the detention of protesters at the Cajamarca Regional Police Station. The public prosecutor archived the case on March 8, stating that the victims were unable to identify their aggressors. The Ombudsman’s Office appealed the decision on April 2. As of October the appeal had been accepted, and the case was re-opened for further investigation.
In 2010 national police officers strangled Wilhem Calero, a suspected bank robber, during the car ride from the site of arrest to the local precinct. In October a court convicted Marcial Soria Serrano of the murder and sentenced him to 12 years in prison. Two officers present at the time of the murder received eight years in prison. Both the district attorney and the victim’s widow publicly asserted that the sentences were too lenient and planned to appeal.
Prison conditions remained harsh for most of the country’s inmates. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition and health care, and corruption among guards were serious problems. Guards received little or no training or supervision.
Physical Conditions: As of August there were 65,181 prisoners, of whom 2,385 were women and 1,345 were teenagers ages 18-19. Men and women were not held together in the same facilities. Juveniles were not held in the same facilities as adults. The National Penitentiary Institute (INPE) operated 27 of the active prisons, the Peruvian National Police (PNP) had jurisdiction over nine, and 31 were operated jointly. Pretrial detainees were held temporarily in pretrial detention centers located at police stations, judiciary buildings, and the Palace of Justice, in most cases with convicted prisoners. As of August INPE records indicated that the national penitentiary system had 62,566 prisoners in 67 facilities that were originally designed for 29,617 prisoners. The San Juan de Lurigancho men’s prison held 8,395 prisoners in a facility designed for 3,204. The Sarita Colonia prison in Callao was built for 572 persons but held 3,117. Prisons for women also were overcrowded and marked by conditions similar to those for men. The Santa Monica women’s prison in Chorrillos was designed for 450 inmates but held 847.
Nationwide, prison guards and fellow inmates reportedly abused prisoners. Inmates reportedly killed fellow inmates. Inmates had intermittent access to potable water, bathing facilities were inadequate, kitchen facilities were unhygienic, and prisoners often slept in hallways and common areas for lack of cell space. Prisoners with money had access to cell phones, illegal drugs, and meals prepared outside the prison; prisoners who lacked funds experienced much more difficult conditions.
Basic medical care was available at most prisons, but there was a shortage of doctors, and inmates complained of having to pay for medical attention. Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS reportedly remained at near-epidemic levels; the Ombudsman’s Office reported the incidence of tuberculosis was 50 times higher than outside the prisons, while the HIV/AIDS rate was more than eight times higher.
Administration: Recordkeeping on prisoners was adequate and up to date. The government did not use alternatives to prison sentencing for nonviolent offenders. Authorities allowed prisoners and detainees to submit complaints to judicial authorities without censorship and to request investigation of credible allegations of inhumane conditions. Authorities investigated such complaints and documented the results in a publicly accessible manner. The ombudsman reported that most complaints stemmed from the failure of authorities to release inmates on time due to delays in the judicial process or INPE procedures. The Ombudsman’s Office reported insufficient accessibility and inadequate facilities for prisoners with disabilities. Prisons lacked specialized medical equipment needed for disability care, such as wheelchairs and transferrable beds. Low accessibility to adequate psychological care for prisoners with mental health problems was also reported.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring visits by independent human rights and international humanitarian law observers. International Committee of the Red Cross officials made 20 unannounced visits to inmates in 12 prisons and detention centers and monitored individually 219 persons. As of September Ombudsman’s Office representatives made visits to 42 Lima and provincial prisons and four juvenile detention centers.
Improvements: On June 20, INPE invested approximately 16 million new soles ($5.7 million) to open a new prison in Juanjui, San Martin Region, with the capacity to hold 544 men and 30 women. By year’s end INPE reported security improvements in existing prisons totaling 32 million new soles ($11.4 million). These improvements included the acquisition of communication and inspection instruments, such as portable radios and metal detectors, as well as secure transport vehicles and arms.
The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention, and the government generally observed these prohibitions. Some arbitrary detentions during social protests occurred. The right to freedom from arrest without warrant was constitutionally suspended in designated emergency zones.
The PNP, with a force of approximately 108,000, is responsible for all areas of law enforcement and internal security except in the VRAEM emergency zone, where the military is responsible for internal security. The PNP functioned under the authority of the Ministry of Interior.
The armed forces, with approximately 115,000 personnel, are responsible for external security under the authority of the Ministry of Defense but also have limited domestic security responsibilities, particularly in the VRAEM emergency zone.
Corruption and a high rate of acquittals in civilian courts for military personnel accused of crimes remained problems (see section 4). The Ministries of Interior and Defense employed internal mechanisms to investigate allegations of abuses by security forces. The Public Ministry conducted investigations, although access to evidence held by the Ministry of Defense was not always forthcoming. The Ombudsman’s Office can also investigate cases and submit conclusions to the Public Ministry for follow-up.
The Public Ministry is charged with witness protection responsibilities but lacked resources to provide training to prosecutors and police officers, conceal identities, and offer logistical support to witnesses.
The law permits police to detain persons for investigative purposes. The law requires a written judicial warrant based on sufficient evidence for an arrest unless the perpetrator of a crime is apprehended in the act. Only judges may authorize detentions. Authorities are required to arraign arrested persons within 24 hours, except in cases of terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, for which arraignment must take place within 15 days; in remote areas arraignment must take place as soon as practicably possible. Military authorities must turn over persons they detain to the police within 24 hours. The law requires police to file a report with the Public Ministry within 24 hours after an arrest. The Public Ministry, in turn, must issue its own assessment of the legality of the police action in the arrest, and authorities respected this requirement.
Judges have 24 hours to decide whether to release a suspect or continue detention, and this provision was respected. A functioning bail system exists, but many poor defendants lacked the means to post bail. By law detainees are allowed access to family members and a lawyer of their choice. Police may detain suspected terrorists incommunicado for 10 days. The Ministry of Justice provided indigent persons with access to an attorney at no cost, although these attorneys often had poor training. Some NGOs provided capacity-building training for attorneys.
Arbitrary Arrest: According to the local NGO National Human Rights Coordinator, on July 22 and 27, police arbitrarily detained 31 people protesting peacefully in Lima against a controversial congressional appointment of high-level government officials. Those detained were released after a few hours.
In July 2012 authorities used force to detain Marco Arana, an environmental activist who protested against the Conga mining project in Cajamarca. Authorities stated that Arana was protesting during a state of emergency the government declared on July 4, 2012. Human rights advocates argued that the government did not formalize the state of emergency until July 5, 2012, after the arrest, and that Arana was arrested without a warrant. Arana alleged mistreatment while at the police station. The public prosecutor archived the case on April 8, and Arana presented a legal complaint on April 30 to reopen the case. As of September the complaint was pending review.
Pretrial Detention: Lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. By June authorities had sentenced only 29,056 of the 65,181 persons held in detention facilities and prisons. According to INPE statistics, as of June approximately 55 percent of those in prison were awaiting trial, the majority for one to two years. Delays were due mainly to judicial inefficiency, corruption, and staff shortages. The law requires release of prisoners who have been held more than 18 months without being tried and sentenced; the period is extended to 36 months in complex cases. Under the new criminal procedure code (see section 1.e., Trial Procedures), the terms are nine months for simple cases and 18 months for complex cases.
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary. NGOs and other analysts asserted that the judiciary often did not operate independently, was not consistently impartial, and was subject to political influence and corruption (see section 4). Authorities generally respected court orders from the judiciary.
The law provides for the right to a fair and public trial, and the judiciary sometimes enforced this right. The government continued the implementation, begun in 2006, of a new criminal procedure code designed to streamline the penal process. As of November the new code was in place in 23 of 31 judicial districts. It requires public hearings for each case and assigns the investigative responsibility to public prosecutors and police; judges are to cease their own investigating.
All defendants are presumed innocent; they have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges and to a fair and public trail without undue delay. They enjoy the right to communicate with an attorney of their choice or have one provided at public expense; however, state-provided attorneys often had poor training. Although citizens have the right to be tried in their own language, language services for non-Spanish speakers were sometimes unavailable. This deficiency primarily affected indigenous people living in the highlands and Amazon regions. Defendants have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense.
Defendants generally had access to government-held evidence related to their cases. Exceptions reportedly occurred in some human rights abuse cases during the period 1980-2000 and particularly with respect to those involving the Ministry of Defense, because the government classifies those documents as secret and subject to disclosure limitations by law. Defendants enjoy the right to confront adverse witnesses and to present their own witnesses and evidence. Defendants have the right not to be compelled to testify or confess to a crime. Defendants may appeal verdicts to a superior court and then to the Supreme Court. The Constitutional Tribunal may rule on cases involving issues such as habeas corpus or the constitutionality of laws.
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
Citizens may seek civil remedies for human rights violations, but court cases often continued for years. Press reports, NGOs, and other sources alleged that persons outside the judiciary frequently corrupted or influenced judges (see section 4).
The law prohibits such actions, and the government generally respected these prohibitions. There were reports, however, that authorities sometimes entered private dwellings before obtaining a warrant; for example, the right to inviolability of the home was legally suspended in the UHV and VRAEM emergency zones.
On June 9, former minister of the interior and political analyst Fernando Rospigliosi accused the government of monitoring activities of the political opposition and independent political analysts. He reported that six police officers were following him and monitoring his daily activities at his office in Lima. Government representatives stated the police officers were investigating a narcotics-trafficking operation. As of September an investigation was pending at the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Shining Path was responsible for killings and other human rights abuses. Government efforts to combat the terrorist organization also resulted in abuses.
Killings: On May 6, a joint police-military unit fired on a civilian van, injuring all eight passengers in Echarate District, Cusco Region. Military authorities reported that the nighttime shooting was in self-defense and related to narcotics trafficking and terrorism, which the victims disputed. As of September an investigation was pending.
On October 18, four civilians were injured and one was killed when an errant army bomb fell on a town near the army base in Mazangaro, in the Junin Region. The bomb was mistakenly released during a counter-terrorism operation. The military publicly acknowledged the bombing and opened an active investigation.
Abductions: On January 23, Shining Path members attacked and kidnapped workers at a construction project in the district of Sivia, Ayacucho Region. The hostages did not sustain any injuries, and the Shining Path released them a few hours later. There were reports that the Shining Path abducted children to work for the terrorist organization during the year.
Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: There were reports that the Shining Path utilized forced labor. Local NGOs and mining companies reported cases in which nongovernmental militias (ronderos) kidnapped and abused hostages. On February 3 in Cajamarca, members of a local militia kidnapped Natividad Herrera Castrejon and held him for 13 days, during which time they tortured him and ultimately killed him for allegedly stealing. On July 24, the militia members pled guilty.
Instances of internal military abuse were also reported. On October 4, two soldiers in the Huancane Region publicly accused their superior, Jose del Alamo Alarcon, of beating them with a hot iron for mistakes made during target practice. There were no reports of a military investigation into this accusation.
Child Soldiers: There were reports that the Shining Path recruited and used child soldiers, at times under forced labor conditions. Reports persisted that the Shining Path used children in both combat and drug-trafficking activities. Some of these children had been kidnapped or recruited from local towns, while others apparently were children of Shining Path members. On July 27, the military rescued two children, ages nine and 11, whom the Shining Path had forcibly recruited to work in Tayacaja, Huancavelica Region.
See also the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at
a. Freedom of Speech and Press
The constitution provides for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respected these rights. Generally, an independent press and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of speech and press.
In October the media company El Comercio Media Group purchased the media group EPENSA, resulting in singular ownership of 78 percent of the country’s daily newspaper circulation. Freedom of press advocates and competing dailies criticized the merger as a quasi-monopoly that threatened press freedom. We are not aware of any restrictions on press freedom resulting from this purchase.
Freedom of Speech: There are no hate speech laws, and the Shining Path front group Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (MOVADEF) freely called for the release of jailed terrorists and others.
Press Freedoms: The independent media were active and expressed a wide variety of views. Some observers claimed that media outlets self-censored for fear of harassment or violence.
Violence and Harassment: A number of journalists and media outlets reported experiencing threats or intimidation. The Press and Society Institute (IPYS) reported that threats were most commonly directed against radio and television broadcast journalists investigating local government authorities and were often linked to reporting on corruption. IPYS reported that the aggressors were often government officials (e.g., mayors, heads of government offices, regional presidents). IPYS reported that Ancash, Lambayeque, Cajamarca, and Lima were the regions that reported the most incidents of harassment seeking to limit freedom of expression. As of July 31, the National Journalists Association reported 82 cases of harassment, compared with 136 in all of 2012, and the IPYS issued 41 alerts, compared with 89 in 2012. Of the harassment cases reported by the National Journalists Association, 29 involved harassment by local authorities, 11 by police and military personnel, one by media owners, and seven by unknown perpetrators.
Censorship or Content Restrictions: Some media, most notably in provinces outside of Lima, practiced self-censorship due to fear of local government reprisal.
On May 9, reporter Oscar Rodriguez Martinez resigned from Huancayo’s KDNA 15 television program Espejo Libre, claiming that one of the station owners, Carlos Sanjinez, instructed him not to broadcast a report that included an accusation against Junin Region’s anticorruption prosecutor, Susana Rivera Villa, for improperly using her position to obtain employment for an acquaintance.
Libel Laws/National Security: The penal code criminalizes libel, and officials reportedly used it to intimidate reporters.
On July 24, Studio 97 Radio reporters Santos Pasapera Portilla, Nexar Jaramillo Davila, and Jeston Vasquez Tocto were sentenced to three years of a suspended prison sentence and to pay the amount of 100,000 new soles ($35,700) to Euler Bery Jave Diaz, the manager of the San Ignacio provincial municipality in Cajamarca Region, for defamation. In March 2012 Jave sued the reporters for libel for comments they made alleging Jave was corrupt. The reporters appealed the sentence, and as of September the appeal was pending.
On April 5, a court acquitted blogger Jose Godoy of defamation charges, bringing the high-profile case to a conclusion. Godoy in 2010 became the first Peruvian blogger to be convicted of defamation when a court found him guilty of defaming former congressman and cabinet minister Jorge Mufarech Nemy. An appeals court overturned his sentence in January 2012, and he was acquitted six months later. Mufarech appealed the 2012 acquittal, leading to the April 5 ruling.
The law designates all information about National Security and Defense as secret. Press freedom activists and local NGOs, such as IPYS, criticized the law as an attack on transparency, freedom of information, and freedom of the press. On April 4, the government published regulations to implement the law.
Nongovernment Impact: Some media reported that narcotics traffickers and illegal mining operations threatened press freedom. There were reports that narcotics traffickers intimidated journalists reporting information that undermined their operations. On February 12, Puerto Maldonado reporter Manuel Calloquispe reported he received a threatening phone call from Lino Aquino after Calloquispe reported that Aquino’s illegal mining activity was causing environmental damage. On June 10, an international reporter alleged that a local mining company in Pasco Region was threatening families the reporter was interviewing about mercury contamination.
There were no government restrictions on access to the internet or credible reports that the government monitored e-mail or internet chat rooms without appropriate legal authority. According to UN 2012 estimates, 38 percent of the population had access to the internet. According to the National Statistics and Information Institute (INEI), 25.5 percent of residences had fixed connections to the internet.
In October the government passed a cybercrimes law designed to combat data sharing and the illegal access of information. IPYS and other local NGOs criticized the law as legally ambiguous and argued that it could be used broadly to target journalists and limit freedom of press.
There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.
The constitution provides for the right of freedom of assembly and association, but there were reports that at times the government did not sufficiently respect these rights (see section 1.d.)
The law does not require a permit for public demonstrations, but organizers must report the type of demonstration planned and its intended location to the appropriate regional governor, an official appointed by the national government who reports to the Ministry of Interior. The government suspended the freedom of assembly in emergency zones where armed elements of the Shining Path operated and in regions suffering from acute natural disasters.
Demonstrations may be prohibited for reasons of public safety or health. Police used tear gas and occasional force to disperse protesters in various demonstrations. Although most were peaceful, protests in some areas turned violent, resulting in deaths and injuries (see section 1.a.). NGOs and the Ombudsman’s Office reported that police used excessive force and tear gas to control nonviolent political protests on July 22 and 27 in Lima.
On October 27 in the Rimac Region, peaceful anti-bullfighting protesters accused police of using excessive force with tear gas and water jets to disperse the crowd. Five activists were detained and two police were injured.
On October 24 in Lima, violence broke out when a group of students with suspected ties to MOVADEF attempted to enter university grounds while classes were temporarily suspended after threats of violence. Two police and 15 students were injured in the clash, and 13 students were detained.
The law provides for freedom of association; however, there were reports that the government did not sufficiently respect this right, particularly with regard to minority religious groups’ right to government registration and recognition.
See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report at
The law provides for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, and the government generally respected these rights. The government cooperated with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other humanitarian organizations to provide protection and assistance to internally displaced persons, refugees, returning refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other persons of concern.
In-country Movement: The government maintained two emergency zones in parts of seven regions, where it restricted freedom of movement, an effort to ensure public peace and restore internal order.
Narcotics traffickers and Shining Path members at times interrupted the free movement of persons by establishing roadblocks in sections of the UHV and VRAEM emergency zones.
Protesters in Canaris, Lambayeque Region, blocked roads from January through April to draw public attention to grievances linked to socio-environmental conflicts. Illegal gold miners in Madre de Dios blocked roads in September and October to protest the government mining formalization process.
There were no major incidents of internal displacement related to violence and terrorism during the year, and the situation of former IDPs continued to be difficult to assess. According to the UNHCR, the number of IDPs remained unknown, because officials registered relatively few. There were minor instances of internal displacement involving the relocation of some rural communities to accommodate extractive industry projects. The Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations (MIMP) monitored the peaceful resettlement of nearly 3,500 individuals from Morococha in the Junin Region to nearby villages. Nearly 1,000 more families initially resisted resettlement but were forcibly moved.
The government Reparations Council continued assisting persons who suffered during the 1980-2000 conflict with the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. IDPs were disproportionately represented by the Quechua and other Andean indigenous populations, due to the legacy of the conflict that took place primarily within the Andean region of the country. The council compiled a registry of victims, which as of September included 182,350 victims and 5,697 communities eligible for reparations. A number of victims and family members lacking proper identity documents had difficulties registering for reparations, and NGOs reported that many victims were not included in the registry. As of August 28, the government had paid 29 million new soles ($10,360) in reparations to 11,740 registered victims.
Access to Asylum: The law provides for the granting of asylum or refugee status, and the government has established a system for providing protection to refugees. The government cooperated with the UNHCR and recognized the Catholic Migration Commission as the official provider of technical assistance to refugees. The commission also advised citizens who feared persecution and sought asylum abroad. The government provided protection to refugees on a renewable, year-to-year basis, in accordance with commission recommendations. During the year the Ministry of Foreign Relations recognized 153 refugees and rejected 136 pleas for refugee status; 126 of the 136 rejected pleas were from Cuban refugees. As of August the UNHCR reported 820 pending refugee requests.
Durable Solutions: There was no resettlement program, but in past years the state received persons recognized as refugees in other nations and provided some administrative support toward their integration. The UNHCR provided such refugees with humanitarian and emergency aid, legal assistance, documentation, and in exceptional cases, voluntary return and family reunification. All Haitian refugee seekers received an identity card affording them temporary protection, temporary permission to work, and fundamental rights.
Temporary Protection: As of August the government provided temporary protection to 161 individuals who were awaiting a decision from the state on their refugee status.
Citizenship is derived either by birth within the country’s territory or from one’s parents. If overseas, parents must register their child’s birth by age 18 for the child to obtain citizenship. According to the INEI, 584,729 minors and 273,646 citizens over age 18 lacked identity documents and could not fully exercise their rights as citizens, making them de facto stateless, a sharp decrease from 1.2 million individuals without identity documents in 2012 and the result of the government’s aggressive efforts to address this problem.
Obtaining a national identity document requires a birth certificate, but many births in rural areas occurred at home and were not registered. Poor indigenous women and children in rural areas were disproportionately represented among those lacking identity documents. Undocumented citizens faced social and political marginalization and barriers to accessing government services, including running for public office or holding title to land. In a September report Verite assessed that undocumented citizens were particularly vulnerable to labor exploitation and individuals who prey on others as human traffickers and robbers.
The law provides citizens the right to change their government peacefully, and citizens exercised this right through periodic, free, and fair elections based on universal suffrage.
Recent Elections: In July 2011 Ollanta Humala Tasso assumed the presidency after two rounds of elections that were considered free and fair. Domestic and international observers declared the nationwide elections, held on April 10, 2011, (for president, Congress, and the Andean Parliament) and on June 5, 2011 (a second round for the presidential race only), to be fair and transparent, despite some controversy over campaign financing and minor irregularities in some areas. In elections for the unicameral Congress, President Humala’s Gana Peru alliance won 47 of 130 seats, which constituted the largest of six legislative blocs. The National Elections Board held a recall election March 17 for Lima Mayor Susana Villaran. Villaran was not recalled, but 22 members of her city council (20 of them belonging to her party) were recalled. International observers reported the election was free and fair. On November 24, the city held an election to replace the recalled city council members.
On July 7, 124 districts in 20 regions held recall elections for 120 mayors and 513 city council members. Twenty-four mayors and 189 city council members were recalled.
Political Parties: Political parties operated without restriction or outside interference, although they remained weak institutions dominated by individual personalities. In regional and municipal elections, regional movements continued to gain ground at the expense of national parties. By law groups that advocate violent overthrow of the government, including the political group linked to the Shining Path, MOVADEF, are not permitted to register as political parties.
Participation of Women and Minorities: The law mandates that at least 30 percent of the candidates on party lists be women, and the parties complied. There were 28 women in Congress. Three members of Congress identified themselves as Afro-Peruvians. Nine of 19 cabinet members were women. There were three women on the 18-member Supreme Court. One member of Congress, Eduardo Nayap, identified himself as Amazonian indigenous. Another member, Claudia Coari, identified herself as indigenous but did not belong to a particular tribe. Approximately seven members of Congress spoke Quechua, but not all identified themselves as indigenous.
The law provides criminal penalties for officials engaged in corruption; however, the government did not always implement the law effectively, and officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were numerous reports of government corruption during the year. There was a widespread perception that corruption was pervasive in all branches of government.
Corruption: The Office of the Comptroller General implements and monitors anticorruption and disclosure processes required by law and informs Congress of its findings. The Office of the Comptroller General has independent authority to sanction public officials who commit corrupt acts; penalties include temporary suspension, termination of employment, and criminal prosecution. The executive branch Unit for Prosecution of Corruption Crimes reports to the minister of justice and has the lead role in prosecution of corruption crimes. All judicial districts review corruption cases in regular courts except Lima, which has a specialized anticorruption court in its Superior Court. The government Public Service Office, which reports directly to the cabinet, manages a registry of former government officials who are no longer eligible for public service due to corruption crimes. As of January 1, the list included 1,958 persons ineligible for public service. All agencies actively worked with civil society groups and operated freely and independently. Sector experts reported that the government agencies were not sufficiently resourced.
There were allegations of widespread corruption in the judicial system. The new penal procedural code, while not yet implemented in Lima and Callao, was applied to corruption cases in these judicial districts. On July 11, the Office of Judicial Control received a complaint that a judicial branch employee accepted a bribe of 500 new soles ($179) to influence a court case in Lima. As of October no new information was available on the status of this case. Nevertheless, previous bribery cases usually result in temporary suspension of the employee. As of November the Office of Judicial Control imposed 1,093 sanctions, 123 of which were permanent removals from public service and 136 of which were one-year suspensions.
During their time in office, members of Congress enjoy congressional immunity; that is, they cannot be prosecuted for any acts during their time in the legislature. In the case of flagrant crimes, the judicial branch can request that Congress lift immunity and allow the arrest of a member. By law congressional immunity does not apply to crimes committed before the member was sworn in, but it impeded most prosecutions. It also does not officially protect members of Congress from civil crimes, such as failure to fulfill contracts or pay child support. As of September the Congressional Ethics Committee was investigating eight members of Congress for questionable activities ranging from falsifying their resumes (by including false degrees and omitting prior convictions) to involvement in illegal mining, money laundering, and narcotics trafficking. On June 21, Congressman Ruben Condori was fined for noncompliance with congressional voting procedures. On September 19, Congressman Modesto Julca was suspended from office for 120 days for nepotism. As of September the government prosecutor for drug trafficking and money laundering reported that five congressmen, two regional presidents, and 11 mayors were under investigation.
On May 20, the public prosecutor began an investigation of former president Alejandro Toledo for alleged money laundering and fraud connected to real estate purchases totaling several million dollars. On August 15, Congress initiated a parallel investigation. As of November both investigations continued. On July 14, former congresswoman Nancy Obregon was arrested (along with several dozen others) on drug trafficking and terrorism charges. As of September she was being held in prison while the investigation continued.
Corruption in prisons was a serious problem, and in some cases guards cooperated with criminal bosses who oversaw the smuggling of guns and drugs into prisons. There were several reports of military corruption, impunity, and resistance to providing information on military personnel under investigation for human rights abuses committed during the country’s internal armed conflict. Security forces sought to strengthen accountability with training in human rights and the revision of disciplinary procedures but were doing so slowly.
In October 2012 lawyer Alberto Quimper, one of the accused in the Petroaudios corruption case of 2008, was released from house arrest after he had reached incarceration limits of 36 months without the court ruling on his case. As of September review of the case was pending in the judiciary.
In November 2012 the special congressional committee investigating corruption during Alan Garcia’s second administration (2006-11) concluded its investigation of Garcia’s alleged mismanagement of a nationwide high school facility remodeling program, and as of September the recommendation to prosecute was under review.
Whistleblower Protection: The law provides protection to public servants and private-sector employees for making internal disclosures or lawful public disclosures of evidence of illegality, such as solicitation of bribes or other corrupt acts, gross waste, fraud, mismanagement, abuse of power, or substantial and specific dangers to public health and safety. The Office of the Comptroller General monitors whistleblower cases through the National System to Monitor Complaints. The law requires protection of whistleblower identity. Whistleblowers are protected from employer retribution and cannot be fired after they submit a complaint. If whistleblowers are harassed, the Comptroller General’s Office informs the Ministry of Labor, which is required to investigate the harassment claim. If the whistleblowers collaborated in the illegal act, their sentence may be reduced in court. If the government recovers funds as a result of the complaint, the whistleblower may receive up to 50 percent of the recovered funds. NGOs reported that whistleblowers were not sufficiently protected from employer retaliation, arbitrary firing, and harassment.
Financial Disclosure: Most public officials are subject to financial disclosure laws and must submit personal financial information to the Office of the Comptroller General prior to taking office and periodically thereafter. The Comptroller General’s Office monitors and verifies disclosures, but the laws were not strongly enforced. Declarations are made available to the public. There are administrative sanctions for noncompliance that escalate from 30-day to one-year suspensions, include bans on signing government contracts, and culminate with being barred from holding government office.
The declaration regime clearly identifies which assets, liabilities, and interests public officials must declare, but it does not include assets and income of spouses and dependent children. The law requires officials to make financial disclosures the first quarter of every year, but there are no provisions for additional declarations when changes occur in their holdings and when they enter and leave office.
On January 4, Congress institutionalized the High Commission on Anti-Corruption and upgraded its status from a working group to a technical office within the Prime Minister’s Office.
Public Access to Information: The law provides for public access to government information, and most ministries and central offices provided information on websites. Implementation of the law was incomplete, particularly outside of Lima, where few citizens exercised or understood their right to information. The ombudsman encouraged regional governments to adopt more transparent practices for releasing information and monitored their compliance with the requirement for public hearings at least twice a year.
The law requires a narrow list of exceptions outlining grounds for nondisclosure that includes classified and protected information including topics of national security, intelligence, police investigations, and advanced technology. The law requires a reasonable timeline for officials to disclose financial information, at the beginning of the first quarter of every year, and does not require the official to bear any processing fees. The law imposes administrative, but not criminal, sanctions for noncompliance. The law allows for appeals of disclosure denials. There were no reports of the government denying disclosure requests or of authorities failing to provide justification under the law. Sector experts reported that appeal mechanisms functioned.
In February the Ombudsman’s Office appealed the portion of the law that limits access to sensitive materials related to national security and defense on the grounds that it violates citizens’ right to information. As of October the appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal was pending.
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