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Assessment for Blacks (Afro-Peruvians) in Peru

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 31 December 2000
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Assessment for Blacks (Afro-Peruvians) in Peru, 31 December 2000, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3ac027.html [accessed 21 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Peru Facts
Area:    1,285,220 sq. km.
Capital:    Lima
Total Population:    23,850,000 (source: various, 1995, est.)

Risk Assessment | Analytic Summary | References

Risk Assessment

There is little information to be found on Afro-Peruvians. What has been found in the sources suggests that Afro-Peruvians are socially discriminated against and small local groups have been seeking greater economic opportunities and political rights. It seems likely that issues of race and ethnicity will persist in Peru for the foreseeable future (POLDIS03 = 3), due to the somewhat complex scenario of race and ethnicity in Peruvian society Continued discrimination is likely to lead to continued protests by Afro-Peruvians, although violence is unlikely.

Analytic Summary

Peru's black population is recognized as a distinct population in the country and is primarily concentrated in the coastal region between Lima and Ica (GROUPCON = 3). Afro-Peruvians and indigenous people are the poorest sectors of Peruvian society. Though Afro-Peruvians unofficially constitute approximately 3 to 5 percent of the population, their music and culture has influenced the greater Peruvian society.

In 1532, when Spanish conquistadors arrived to seize Peru from the Incan people, African slaves accompanied them. The country's black population increased when Africans from the Bantu regions were captured and forcibly brought to Peru by the Spanish. The Afro-Peruvian population of the coast has a vibrant tradition of music and customs, stemming from its African roots; Afro-Peruvian music and festivals are very popular in the larger society, although Peruvian literature often portrays blacks as "evil" or "lacking morals." Afro-Peruvians are intermarrying at high rates with members of other ethnic or racial groups (RACE = 2). In one of the more positive pieces of legislation passed in the Congress, the 1969 Agrarian Reform Bill reorganized all land into cooperatives, which required blacks and non-blacks to participate in state-regulated agricultural cooperatives. This program increased integration into society.

However, while the constitution of Peru does not permit discrimination based upon race or ethnicity, social discrimination persists (ATRISK1 = 1; ECDIS03 = 3; POLDIS03 = 3). Social advancement in Peru is based partially upon the "whiteness" of one's skin. Afro-Peruvians' participation in the government is not proportionate to their numbers; in 2001, there were only three Afro-Peruvians in the Congress. It is widely believed that people of African decent are unofficially excluded from the higher ranks of both the air force and the navy (POLIC601 - 03 = 1). There is also discrimination by police: people of African decent are often detained for suspected crimes just because of their skin color, and there is a pattern of neglect when it comes to police acting on complaints of crimes against Afro-Peruvians (POLIC301 - 03 = 1). With regard to the economy, Afro-Peruvians generally are relegated to lower paying service jobs, and rarely hold positions of leadership within the business community.

There are several groups that represent Afro-Peruvians, including the Asociacion Negra de Defensa y Promocion de los Derecho Humanos, the Francisco Congo Black movement, Association of Black Peruvian Youth, Black Woman Defense Association, the Center for the Development of Peruvian Black Women, and the National Afro-Peruvian Research Institute. While information on these groups is scant, they have been active in the past few years, pursuing through conventional tactics greater economic opportunities and political rights for black Peruvians (GOJPA03 = 2).

References

U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Ecuador 2001-2003.

Lexis Nexis, all news reports, 2001-2003.

National News Agency. Peruvian Government Called not to Condemn Cuba at UN. http://www.ain.cu/english/2404cmboletin.htm Date Accessed 1/17/2005

Gender Center. http://www.gendercentre.org/match.htm Date Accessed 1/17/2005.

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