U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1993 - Peru

  Peru is a republic with a dominant executive branch headed by President Alberto Fujimori. During 1993 Peru formally ended the constitutional crisis that began on April 5, 1992, when President Fujimori dissolved Congress and suspended the 1979 Constitution. A new Constitution, drafted by a Constituent Congress elected in conformity with a pledge made by President Fujimori to the Organization of American States (OAS), was approved in a nationwide referendum held in the presence of OAS observers on October 31. The new Constitution took effect on December 31; it accords more power to the executive than its predecessor but also provides for a more independent judiciary. The next elections for President and Congress are due in 1995. The legislative branch is a unicameral Constituent Congress with 80 members elected at large. President Fujimori's party, Cambio 90/Nueva Mayoria, holds a 44-seat majority. Congress' authority to act as a check and balance on the executive branch, and especially the military, was weakened in April 1993. A provocative show of force and threats by army commander General Hermoza led the progovernment majority to close a congressional investigation into the July 1992 abductions of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University in which the army and the National Intelligence Service were implicated. A civilian court has indicted 11 military personnel in the case, while a separate military court has indicted these 11 as well as 2 others. Eight officers were among those indicted, including one general officer. In 1993 the executive branch also dominated the judicial system; hundreds of provisional judges and prosecutors appointed by President Fujimori in 1992 continued in their positions. Congress appointed an independent tribunal to review the 1992 dismissals of several hundred judicial officials and to examine the qualifications of the President's appointees. By the end of 1993, the tribunal had approved about 70 percent of his Supreme Court appointees, who continued in their positions. Most terrorism cases continue to be tried on treason charges in military courts, which lack most of the basic principles of due process. In November Congress enacted several reforms of the procedures for trying terrorism cases which addressed some, but far from all, of the due process problems of the courts. The police and the military share public security responsibilities. The military and the police both conducted counterterrorism activities in Lima; the military took the lead in provincial areas under a state of emergency. Emergency zone status continued to provide for the suspension of certain constitutional guarantees. Currently 48 percent of Peru's 22 million people live in such areas, including the 8 million residents of Lima. Since 1990 the Peruvian authorities have gradually incorporated human rights concerns into their counterinsurgency strategy. Nonetheless, elements of the military and police continued to be responsible for serious but diminishing 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 half of the foreign exchange earnings. The Government pursued a market-oriented economic stabilization and structural adjustment program, including privatization of state-owned firms, and the economy was slowly recovering from recession. However, the World Bank estimated that one half of Peruvians live in poverty, and half of those in extreme poverty. Significant reductions in political violence and in the volume of disappearances of suspected terrorists marked continued advances by government forces against the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) terrorist movement. Major problems in government human rights observance remained, however, particularly the lack of due process in terrorism trials, continued (albeit substantially fewer) executions and disappearances, torture, and limited prosecution of government abuses. Impunity for those responsible for abuses continued to be a major concern. The chief sources of human rights violations remained Sendero Luminoso and, to a lesser degree, government security forces. Sendero violations included assassinations of perceived opponents and the merely uncooperative, from government leaders and other officials to religious workers and peasants. Sendero, lacking widespread popular support, used terror against civilians, regardless of their political allegiance, and selective assassination against grassroots leaders as an integral part of its strategy to create chaos and make the country ungovernable. Peru's respected independent National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights (Coordinadora) reported that Sendero was responsible for 516 assassinations of noncombatants in 1993. Sendero killed members of rural self-defense forces (rondas), carried out several massacres, including that of some 60 Ashaninka Indians and colonists on August 18, and continued using car bombs and other explosive devices to create terror and cause damage in urban areas. The military and the police continued to be responsible for numerous summary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, and rape, with a climate of impunity prevailing. Few abuses were fully investigated, and prosecution of security force members was rare. However, statistics from various sources, including the Coordinadora and the Public Ministry (an autonomous office of the Attorney General), confirmed that the number of disappearances and extrajudicial executions attributable to security forces declined significantly in 1993 as compared to the previous year. The Public Ministry reported that members of the security forces, rondas, and paramilitary groups connected to elements within the Government were believed responsible for 22 extrajudicial killings and as many as 57 disappearances through December. The Coordinadora, using different tracking methods, reported 31 extrajudicial killings and 44 new disappearances attributed to such groups during the year. Many people were arrested and convicted for terrorism without due process and without provisional liberty in cases in which evidence against them was lacking; police or judicial errors kept innocent people in jail for lengthy periods. In some military trials, lack of due process and procedural errors led to defendants being given lengthy prison sentences under questionable circumstances. There were also credible reports that the Government used the legal system on several occasions to intimidate political opponents and journalists. Violence against women remained pervasive. There were positive developments during the year. The Government permitted visits by the Inter-American Commisssion on Human Rights and the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions and in March lifted restrictions on the operations of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Government instituted human rights training for the military and a course in human dignity for the police. Police and military practices were altered, as reflected by the drastically reduced numbers of disappearances and extrajudicial executions. However, government security forces continued to act with impunity. The Government also agreed for the first time to hold a regular dialog with the Coordinadora. While the dialog was not held on a regular basis nor were the meetings held in an open atmosphere early in the year, the process began to produce some concrete, though limited, results in late 1993.


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 Sendero Luminoso and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). This war has caused 26,000 deaths and numerous human rights abuses by both sides. The Public Ministry reported that members of the security forces, rondas, and paramilitary groups were believed responsible for 22 extrajudicial killings during the year. The Coordinadora estimated that military forces were responsible for 12 extrajudicial killings, rondas were responsible for 11, and the police another 8. Sendero Luminoso was reported responsible for 516 political assassinations in 1993; the MRTA, 24; and unidentified subversives, 6. Another 38 persons were killed in terrorist bomb attacks perpetrated by Sendero. The number of killings committed by each side was probably underreported because of widespread distrust of the authorities and the judicial system. In addition, in 62 deaths the Coordinadora was unable to deduce from available evidence whether the security forces or subversives were responsible. The level of killings by government forces declined significantly from 1992 when Coordinadora estimated that 114 were killed. Most of the killings again took place in emergency zones where the level of conflict was highest. In February there were credible reports that a military patrol massacred eight villagers from the town of Agasmarca within an emergency zone. Credible human rights monitors reported that the army continued to be responsible for murders of university students abducted in Huancayo. In September the body of student Carlos Lopez Granados was discovered in an irrigation ditch with bullet wounds and bearing signs of torture. His abduction followed the pattern of disappearances of three dozen other university students in 1992-93. In the north coast city of Trujillo in September, witnesses claimed police detained 17-year-old Jessica Chavez and her uncle, Javier Cruz, while they were leaving a barbecue. Police brought their bodies to the morgue the next morning, claiming the two were terrorists killed in a police shoot-out. Jessica's mother claimed there were clear signs of torture on both corpses, which the autopsy report failed to mention. Rural self-defense committees, or rondas – armed and trained by the military – were also responsible for extrajudicial killings. Ronda members reportedly used bows and arrows, knives, and machetes to kill 10 residents of the jungle village of Delta- Pichanaki on September 11. Despite being identified by survivors of the massacre, all but 4 of the 21 alleged perpetrators were released by local authorities after questioning. Most killings by security forces were neither investigated nor prosecuted. The military repeatedly used its court system, which tries all crimes committed by active duty personnel, to preempt civilian investigation and prosecution of cases involving military abuses. The most blatant case of military interference in an investigation of possible extrajudicial killings by the military occurred on April 20 when, after appearing at a government hearing on the La Cantuta disappearances (see Section 1.b.), army commander General Nicolas Hermoza verbally attacked Congress and ordered tanks into the streets as a show of force. As a result, Congress dropped its investigation in favor of one conducted by the military. The investigation into the November 1991 killing of 17 people in the Barrios Altos section of Lima was conducted briefly by civilian authorities and then closed due to lack of evidence. During 1993 there were credible, detailed accusations that the La Cantuta disappearances and the Barrios Altos killings had been committed by an army intelligence unit death squad. In May the third-ranking general of the Peruvian Army, Rodolfo Robles, publicly charged that the death squad existed with the full knowledge and consent of General Hermoza, under the direction of presidential intelligence advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, and maintained informal links to the National Intelligence Service (SIN). Senior government and army officials were alleged to have had knowledge of the unit's existence. The same army officials exercised authority over army judicial officers charged with investigating the allegations. In October President Fujimori announced that four army personnel had been arrested in the La Cantuta case. However, there were press reports that the four had been promised lenient treatment and large sums of money in return for not implicating higher ranking officers. The Supreme Council of Military Justice did not issue arrest warrants until mid-December, at which time, it claimed, five army officers were detained. By January 1994, the Government announced that eight officers, including General Juan Rivero Lazo, and five enlisted men had been indicted in connection with the case; the Government claimed that the officers were under detention. In December a civilian court judge also indicted 11 army personnel for the killings, but the army would not hand them over to civilian authorities. The Supreme Court was to decide in January 1994 if jurisdiction in the case will be granted to the civilian or the military court. There are only two confirmed cases in which army personnel were convicted for extrajudicial killings. Although the army stated there were convictions in four additional cases, it was not possible to verify this as military court records remain under seal. In February army Lt. Javier Bendezu Vargas was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a military court for directing the 1991 massacre of 14 villagers in Santa Barbara. Two subordinates were also convicted but received light sentences. Also in February, a military court convicted army Captain Telmo Hurtado for abuse of authority for his role in leading a 1985 massacre of 69 villagers in Accomarca. He received a sentence of 6 years in prison and expulsion from the army, but there were credible reports that Hurtado was free and back on active duty in the army. Sendero continued to assassinate civilians, including peasants, farmers, villagers, indigenous people, civil authorities, and public servants. The number of people murdered by Sendero declined somewhat from 958 in 1992 to 516 in 1993. This decline does not appear to reflect any change in Sendero's tactics but is most likely due to the disorganization and reduced level of operations that followed the capture of Sendero founder Abimael Guzman and other top leaders in 1992. Sendero forces in the emergency zones stepped up attacks against those participating in rondas. As part of its terror tactics, a Sendero Luminoso column massacred almost 60 members of the Ashaninka tribe and colonists in the jungle province of Satipo, Junin department, on August 19. Many of the victims were members or supporters of rondas; others were women and children. The attackers killed their victims with machetes; they left dozens of others maimed and orphaned several hundred children. Between September 4 and 6, another Sendero column killed 25 civilians – many of them ronda members – and two policemen in several towns in Huanuco department. While most of Sendero Luminoso's victims were civilians, 145 were members of the security forces.

b. Disappearance

Disappearances began to decrease starting in 1991, and dropped more sharply after November 1992. The Coordinadora estimated that there were 2,957 unresolved disappearances between 1982 and 1992; the United Nations estimates 2,640 over the same time period. While some disappearances were investigated, in general the military and police perpetrators acted with impunity. The number of cases of disappearances in 1993 was significantly lower than the previous year. The Public Ministry reported 57 new unresolved disappearances as of December. The Coordinadora, using different tracking methods, reported 44 during that time. (In 1992, estimates of disappearances ranged from 145 to 280.) According to the Public Ministry, the majority of its formal complaints about disappearances implicated members of the security forces in the emergency zones. Testimony from witnesses and survivors indicated that most victims were abducted by groups of plainclothes men and taken to military bases for interrogation. Some were turned over to police and eventual terrorism trials, some were released, and some never reappeared. For instance, in February 1993, armed masked men abducted two university students in Huancayo. Rony Guerra was thrown into a van and abducted in broad daylight; Milagros Flor Tupac was taken from her house in the middle of the night while her family looked on. The two students were among some 36 in Huancayo who have disappeared after being kidnaped in similar operations since July 1992. Twenty-two were found dead, with many bodies bearing signs of torture. In other cases, individuals have disappeared after being formally detained by authorities. Alberto Leyva and Lucio Romero were arrested on suspicion of terrorism by the navy in the village of Chio, Ucayali department, on January 15. The navy claimed they were released shortly thereafter; however, neither Leyva nor Romero ever returned to their homes after they were detained.

c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Although the Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or humiliating treatment, brutal treatment of detainees is common. Knowledgeable observers reported that suspected subversives held by government security forces were routinely tortured at military detention centers. Torture often takes place in the period immediately following detention. Police may hold a terrorism suspect incommunicado for 15 days, a period that can be extended for another 15 days in cases of treason (aggravated terrorism). The law also requires that persons detained for terrorism be interrogated in the presence of a Public Ministry prosecutor. Violations of these standards are frequent, however, especially in the emergency zones (which include Lima). The requirement that an attorney be present during the initial stages of detention and interrogation in treason cases was eliminated by decree law in 1992. Lawyers are still expected to be present when the detainee signs any written document. A group of law students arrested in Lima in late 1992 and acquitted in late 1993 made credible claims that they were subjected to beatings, sleep deprivation, threats, and taunting by police during 2 weeks while blindfolded and handcuffed. One of the students alleged he was taken to a beach in the middle of the night and thrown into the surf with his hands tied in an apparent effort to force a confession. In another case, 16-year-old Rafael Flores Vela claimed that, during detention in Tarapoto on suspicion of terrorism on September 13, police beat him with an iron bar for 5 hours during interrogation. The police spent the next 9 days, Flores charged, trying to heal his wounds with anti-inflammatory drugs. They then released him without charges. Flores had to be hospitalized immediately thereafter because both his shoulders were broken. Authorities reportedly opened an investigation of the implicated police officers. Besides beatings, common methods of physical torture included electric shocks, water torture, asphyxiation, and being hung on a hook from a rope attached to hands tied behind the back. Common forms of psychological torture included sleep deprivation, taunting, and death threats against both the detainee and his or her family members. Prisoners were almost always blindfolded during torture and not permitted to see their interrogators. There continued to be credible reports of rape perpetrated by elements of the security forces in the emergency zones. In one case, Maria de la Cruz Pari, detained by police on terrorism charges, was taken to a beach at night and raped during the 15-day interrogation period. When de la Cruz discovered she was pregnant, police claimed that her cousin, also accused of terrorism, was responsible. However, highly credible sources corroborated de la Cruz's story, and the initiation of pregnancy coincided with the period of her detention. In another incident, villagers of the jungle town of Aucayacu accused soldiers of breaking into nine different houses during the night of March 22, and raping the women and girls they found. A 16-year-old girl filed a written complaint with the local army commander, recounting how a soldier put a rag in her mouth to stop her from screaming during the rape. The girl reported that the commander, "between jokes and laughter," accused her of lying about the incident. Human rights groups continued to document cases of rape by the security forces; some reports indicate rape is used as an interrogation tool. There are no known cases in which a member of the security forces has been punished for rape. Many victims of Sendero terrorism also showed signs of having been tortured. Torture of those victims often follows a brief "people's trial," normally held in the presence of onlookers as a method of intimidation. There were credible accounts that Sendero tortured victims to death by means such as slitting throats, strangulation, stoning, and burning. Mutilation of the body is common. In the Ashaninka massacre in Satipo, Sendero cut off the ears and fingers of numerous victims. Prison conditions continued to be poor, despite physical improvements to some of Lima's prisons. Prisoners continued to be exposed to unsanitary facilities, poor nutrition and health care, and harsh treatment by both prison staff and fellow inmates. Picsi prison near Chiclayo, for example, which held twice the number of prisoners for which it was designed, has no running water. The prison in Huancayo is prone to flooding, and electrical wires are exposed in various parts of the building. Detainees, kept in windowless cells, are not allowed outside at Lima's Palace of Justice and are taken to the bathroom only once a day. Corruption continued to be rampant among prison staff, who have been implicated in offenses such as sexual blackmail, selling narcotics and weapons, and arranging escapes. Prisoners have to bribe guards to get a mattress, and guards routinely subject inmates to beatings, torture, and degrading treatment. The Government announced plans to construct 20 new prisons around the country to alleviate the severe overcrowding due to the high number of terrorism detainees. Construction began on maximum security facilities in Ica, Huaraz, and Cajamarca; the Government also began the renovation of several prisons, including the large Castro Castro facility for terrorism detainees in Lima. The Government claims that these major construction projects will significantly improve prison conditions.

d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The new Constitution, the Criminal Code, and antiterrorist legislation delineate the arrest and detention process. However, most if not all protections are suspended in those areas under a state of emergency. In the emergency zones, security forces do not need an arrest warrant, and detainees were often held incommunicado and denied access to an attorney during the interrogation period. In areas not subject to a state of emergency, a judicial warrant is required for arrest, unless a perpetrator is caught in the act. Persons arrested must be arraigned within 24 hours, except in cases of terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, for which the limit is 15 days. Suspected terrorists may be held incommunicado for an additional 15 days (for a total of 30) before arraignment under 1992 treason decrees. 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). In many cases this law was flagrantly disregarded by the military. Detainees (except in emergency zones) have the right to choose their own attorney, or the Government must provide counsel at no cost. This does not always occur in practice, and human rights sources report instances in which court clerks were deputized to stand in as public defenders. There is no functioning bail system; a form of provisional liberty is available for persons not accused of terrorism, espionage, or narcotics offenses. The Public Ministry established a provisional national registry of detainees in 1992 to track cases of persons arrested for terrorism offenses, but at year's end the registry was not yet fully operational. Following an interruption of its access to prisons in September 1992, the ICRC resumed its operations in March 1993. ICRC representatives were permitted to visit detainees in any place of detention, including prisons, jails, police stations, and military bases. In addition, the ICRC had access to the provisional national registry of detainees, the Defense Ministry's detainee registry, and police detention records. According to the official government newspaper, El Peruano, nearly 70 percent of the country's prison population consisted of detainees awaiting trial. The average delay between arrest and trial on criminal charges was between 26 and 36 months. However, those tried on treason charges by the 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 of individuals arrested and detained for long periods of time with little or no evidence against them. Darnilda Pardave Trujillo was arrested in October 1992 when she tried to leave the country; she did not know there was an arrest warrant out for her. Although her late sister had been a high-ranking member of Sendero Luminoso, there was no evidence that Darnilda Pardave ever belonged to the terrorist organization; police interrogation and a search of her house turned up nothing. Pardave was found innocent by the district attorney, a lower court judge, and the superior court prosecutor. Nevertheless, she was not released until October 29, over a year after she was first arrested. There were also numerous cases in which police or the military presented detainees to the media as terrorists, parading them around in striped jail clothes. Occasionally such detainees were acquitted because they were innocent or for lack of evidence; many charged that they had been stigmatized by these public displays. The 1993 Constitution does not explicitly prohibit forced involuntary exile, unlike the 1979 Constitution, which was basically in effect until December 31. Several public figures, however, went into voluntary exile to escape what they perceived to be political persecution.

e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Peruvian legal system is based generally on the Napoleonic Code. Defendants have the right to be present at the trial, although there were cases of trials in absentia. Verdicts are rendered by a judge or, in the case of appeals, a panel of judges, following an investigation, and the filing of charges. Sentences may be appealed, and judges may return cases to lower courts for additional investigation or correction of procedural errors. The judicial branch has never been fully independent, but the 1993 Constitution contains a number of provisions, including an improved system of naming judges, that might lead to a more independent judiciary in the future. Nonetheless, some 70 percent of the incumbent judges and prosecutors were appointed provisionally by President Fujimori after he seized extraconstitutional powers in 1992 and were never confirmed by Congress. Congress appointed an independent tribunal to review the 1992 dismissals of several hundred judicial officials and to examine the qualifications of President Fujimori's appointees. By December its review was complete only at the Supreme Court level, resulting in the dismissal of 30 percent of the President's appointments. Nonetheless, the executive branch continued to play a major role in numerous aspects of the judicial 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, including the Supreme Court level. The high cost of litigation also 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 sharp increase in terrorism cases. According to El Peruano, there were 12,268 detainees awaiting trial throughout the country on September 30. According to the Secretary General of the judicial branch, the case backlog in the Supreme Court alone (including cases held in the Public Ministry for Supreme Court review) was 8,506; the case backlog for the entire judicial branch was estimated at over 100,000. 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. Terrorism cases are now tried by 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. Counterterrorism police, with some participation by the prosecutor, decide which cases are tried in military courts and which are tried in civilian courts. According to various human rights observers, approximately 75 percent of terrorism trials in military courts resulted in convictions. Treason convictions generally carry a sentence of life imprisonment. While the 1993 Constitution would permit imposition of the death penalty, President Fujimori has stated that the Government will refrain from enacting implementing legislation for this provision. Proceedings in military courts did 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 prior to the trial. Military judges rarely have any legal background; they are active duty officers subordinate to their superiors. Military tribunals must pass judgment within 10 days. A case may be appealed to the War Council, which has 10 days to make its decision. A final appeal to the Supreme Council of Military Justice must be acted on within 5 days. These trials are secret and brief, with rules that inhibit the actions of defense attorneys; combined with a system in which the military makes arrests, prosecutes, and passes judgment, they clearly lack important elements of due process. Human rights groups charge that some defendants have been railroaded through military trials and sentenced before their lawyers were even notified that the trial had begun. These flaws have become even more significant because now those convicted of treason can be sentenced to death. In September the Government hosted a visit by an international panel of distinguished jurists. The jurists studied the Peruvian legal and judicial system to determine whether or not there was adequate due process, particularly in terrorism trials. In December the panel returned to Peru to present its findings and recomendations. Congress passed a law in November that modified several aspects of previous antiterrorism legislation. The right to habeas corpus, previously annulled for suspected terrorists, was restored at various stages of criminal proceedings, and a 1992 law was modified to permit judges to free persons arrested for terrorism whose judicial investigation (the first stage of criminal proceedings) turns up no evidence. The new laws also permit the high military court to review cases of military convictions of civilians if there is evidence of procedural error. Decree laws promulgated in 1992 that permitted convictions in absentia and prohibited lawyers from defending more than one person at a time for terrorism were canceled.

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 credible reports that on occasion, police planted subversive literature in the homes of individuals they suspected of terrorism but could not otherwise arrest for lack of proof. There were frequent credible reports of illegal telephone wiretaps. In Lima and other urban areas, the army often conducted "sweep" operations in which targeted neighborhoods were surrounded and sealed off and soldiers conducted house-to-house searches. Persons wanted for a crime and those found with unregistered weapons, subversive material, or without identity documents were detained for questioning. 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. They 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, many of the newer rondas were organized under the direction of military authorities, with peasants sometimes coerced into participating. 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

Sendero Luminoso is the principal violator of humanitarian law in Peru's internal conflict. 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, as in the August massacre in Satipo, were unarmed women and children. In armed confrontations, Sendero rarely 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. Although the Government stated that its security forces did not have a policy of carrying out actions against civilian targets, noncombatants were the victims of extrajudicial killings (see Section 1.a.). The army also forced peasants to participate in rondas. Military conscription of children is prohibited, and this prohibition was respected by government forces.

Section 2 Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The new Constitution provides for freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and the Government generally respects this provision. However, it contains a legal mechanism called "habeas data" which grants any citizen the right to demand access to information he or she considers slanderous. Some journalists see this as a potential tool to censor or harass the press, especially in view of past instances of intimidation of the press through arrests, lawsuits, and other forms of harassment. The media regularly criticize the Government. With 8 television stations, 3 cable systems, 72 radio stations, and 15 daily newspapers in Lima alone, Peruvians have access to a broad spectrum of information and opinion. The Government owns one television network, one radio network, and one daily newspaper. Most of the political parties or factions have access to the press. The television stations, although generally progovernment, provide regular access to opposition figures. The print media are defined by extremes; almost all major newspapers and magazines are either strongly for or against the government. On several occasions government officials made intimidating statements regarding press freedom. In January President Fujimori announced that the National Intelligence Service would evaluate news reports for errors and "correct" misinformation. The Interior Minister accused journalists writing critical stories about human rights abuses of being "allies of terrorists" and implied they could face legal action. Army Commander General Hermoza threatened to take action over stories reporting his alleged link to the La Cantuta case of disappeared university students. In January two retired army generals were indicted by a military court for defamation when, in press interviews, they questioned the roles of General Hermoza and the President's intelligence adviser Vladimiro Montesinos. One of the retired generals, Luis Cisneros, was eventually cleared of the charges, but the other, Alberto Arciniega, sought refuge at the Argentine Embassy and shortly thereafter was granted political asylum in Argentina. The editors of two opposition magazines were subjects of separate civil defamation suits intended to halt their unflattering coverage of government officials, which the officials considered libelous. Other journalists have been imprisoned under Peru's antiterrorist laws, most notably La Republica reporter Magno Sosa, arrested in October 1992. Though the evidence against him was thoroughly discredited, he remained in jail for nearly 5 months. Sosa was freed in February, but at least 10 other journalists faced criminal charges over their alleged links to terrorist organizations. Several others have received death threats. While terrorists and drug traffickers were sometimes believed to be the source, opposition journalists say government security forces were also involved. The Government distributed its substantial advertising outlays as a form of political patronage. Some media owners claim the Government pressured private sector advertisers to boycott antigovernment publications and used tax inspectors to harass the media. Many media owners are involved in other economic activities that require government licensing or involve bidding on government contracts. This resulted in a degree of self-censorship, particularly in the broadcast media. Human rights groups and the media also documented credible reports that the Government tried to silence debate on the new Constitution before the October 31 referendum, particularly in the emergency zones. There were reports that dozens of persons were arrested for promoting opposition to the new Constitution. All were eventually released, but human rights groups concluded that the Government used the security forces to harass people who vocally opposed the new Constitution (see Section 3). Opposition media access to government information was restricted. Government press offices refused to send news releases and other information to some magazines or to allow them access to government transportation when the President visited remote parts of Peru or other countries. The Government generally respected academic freedom as long as it did not involve direct confrontation with security practices. Sendero and, to a lesser extent, MRTA, resorted extensively to 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. The Government does not interfere in the teaching, discussion, or publication of a variety of opinions; however, all forms of indoctrination by subversive groups are prohibited.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

These rights are expressly provided for in both the 1979 and the 1993 Constitutions and are normally respected 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. Many unauthorized public meetings occurred, and the police occasionally used clubs, tear gas, and water cannons to break up marches or disperse large or unruly crowds. These tactics were mostly used against striking public service workers.

c. Freedom of Religion

Both the 1979 and the 1993 Constitutions provide for freedom of religion, and this provision is respected in practice. Roman Catholicism predominates in Peru, and the Constitution formally recognizes that church "as an important element in the historical, cultural, and moral development of the nation." The Constitution also establishes the separation of church and state. Conversion to other religions is respected, and missionaries are allowed to enter the country and proselytize. Adherence to a particular faith does not necessarily confer an advantage in secular life. Sendero Luminoso rejects religion and, in 1993, continued to threaten and intimidate religious workers and organizations. Among Sendero's activities in this regard were direct death threats against priests and other religious workers, acts of vandalism, and destruction of church property. This included the use of some small bombs at Mormon churches in Cuzco in February.

d. Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The 1979 and the 1993 Constitutions provide for the right of free movement, and there are no political or legal constraints on foreign travel or emigration. Freedom of movement is suspended in the emergency zones but is generally permitted under control of the army. Nonetheless, travelers may be detained in the emergency zones by authorities at any time. The 1993 Constitution prohibits the revocation of citizenship. Repatriates (both voluntary and involuntary) are not treated any differently from other Peruvians. Peru has provisions for granting asylum and refugee status; the procedures have been used by small groups of persons in recent years, principally Cubans. Persons granted asylum or refugee status may apply for citizenship. Refugees are not forced to return to countries in which they fear persecution. On many occasions, Sendero tried to interrupt free movement within the country, conducting "armed strikes" during which civilians were obliged to stay home or risk reprisals. Public and private vehicles operating during such strikes were subject to attack. Sendero's armed strikes were less successful in 1993 than they were in previous years.

Section 3 Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change Their Government

During 1993 Peru returned to constitutional government. After President Fujimori dissolved Congress and suspended portions of the 1979 Constitution on April 5, 1992, a Constituent Congress was elected in November 1992 to draft a new Constitution. This Constitution was approved in an October 31 referendum by 52 percent of the voters. Organization of American States (OAS) observers issued a press release after the election describing the balloting as fair. Nevertheless, the OAS observers noted police harassment of opposition campaign workers. Human rights groups and the media also documented credible reports that the Government tried to silence debate on the Constitution before the referendum, particularly in the emergency zones. Dozens of people were arrested for promoting opposition to the document, but all were eventually released. The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to choose and change the laws and officials that govern them. Voting is mandatory by secret ballot for all Peruvians between the ages of 18 and 70. Prisoners and members of the armed forces and police are ineligible to vote. Only groups that advocate violent overthrow of the Government are barred from participating in the political process. Opposition groups representing a wide variety of opinion and ideology were tolerated by the Fujimori administration. However, the April show of force by the army in response to Congress's efforts to investigate the La Cantuta case was a major step backward in the military's post-1980 respect for, and acceptance of, civilian rule. Countrywide municipal elections were held in January. A wide variety of political party and independent candidates representing the entire political spectrum ran for office. An OAS observer mission, as well as independent domestic monitors, concluded that these elections were conducted freely and fairly, with significant popular participation. The next elections are scheduled for 1995. Under the new Constitution (unlike the former), President Fujimori may seek reelection. 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 leadership positions (e.g., Attorney General and Supreme Court justice). President Fujimori is from a racial minority. However, discrimination has often led to the exclusion of these groups from leadership positions in government and business.

Section 4 Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

Numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) dedicated to monitoring and advancing human rights operated freely and independently, although they were often the targets of persecution and harassment. The military often restricted the ability of local human rights workers to investigate human rights abuses; the Government usually ignored human rights groups' requests for information; and many human rights monitors could not visit some key prisons. Legitimate fears of attack by Sendero also limited the ability of human rights monitors to investigate reported cases of abuse. Some groups are closely identified with the Government. The vast majority of NGO's, however, are independent and generally objective in their views. Several local private human rights groups joined in 1985 to form an umbrella organization known as the National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights, or the Coordinadora. Over 40 groups from around the country are either voting or observer members of the Coordinadora. These groups are widely considered to be credible, thorough, and impartial observers. Local groups repeatedly denounced Sendero Luminoso as the largest violator of human rights in Peru, while simultaneously documenting the many violations by government forces. Nevertheless, President Fujimori, other government officials, 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. Strong documentary evidence proves that Coordinadora members have been balanced in their denunciations of abuses by both sides. Government forces continued to harass or detain local human rights leaders throughout the year. A human rights leader in Ayaviri, Puno department, was detained at a toll booth in May on charges of "being the human rights secretary and participating in suspicious meetings with teachers." The individual, who had survived two Sendero Luminoso attempts on her life, was released shortly thereafter for lack of evidence. Father Jose Manuel Miranda, a Spanish Catholic priest and member of the Coordinadora's board of directors, was listed in a report by the Interior Ministry as "the Sendero Luminoso coordinator in Ica." Police reportedly tried to implicate Father Miranda in subversive activities in Ica, where he regularly visits prisoners in his capacity as both priest and human rights activist. The Spanish Embassy protested the Government's treatment of Father Miranda, and the Coordinadora requested that the Government and the police specify what evidence or charges they had against Miranda. There was no reply by year's end. President Fujimori announced in March that he would ask the Congress to draft legislation to regulate NGO's, "including human rights organizations." The next day, a government-party Congressman declared that such legislation was necessary because NGO's "lacked supervision." The Congressman questioned the sources of funding for groups that he claimed attacked Peru's image. All NGO's in Peru are presently registered with the Government and submit an annual report on funding and staffing. New legislation on NGO's was not introduced in 1993. In response to a request from human rights groups, the Government established a commission, chaired by Justice Minister Vega, to conduct a monthly dialog with the Coordinadora. However, after the first meeting in April, the Government failed to convene the meetings on a regular basis, and downgraded its participation to midlevel representatives. The dialog with midlevel representatives has met more regularly; while it produced few concrete results, the Government agreed in November to review specific detention cases raised in the meetings. Some individuals have been released from prison as a result. Several foreign NGO's sent representatives to Peru to investigate the human rights situation. The Washington Office on Latin America, Americas Watch, and Amnesty International visited Peru. However, the Government turned down Americas Watch's requests to visit prisons and officials refused to meet with them. In contrast, the Government offered full cooperation to a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that visited Peru in May. The delegation met with a wide array of human rights leaders, government officials, opposition politicians, and individuals wishing to discuss specific cases. Members of the delegation also visited several prisons. Another positive development was the Government's decision to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, Dr. Bacre Waly Ndiaye, who visited Peru in May. The Government facilitated access for the Special Rapporteur, who declared he was pleased with the Government's cooperation. The Special Rapporteur also met with a wide variety of people both in and out of the government and traveled to investigate specific cases. After the Government limited access to prisons for the ICRC in late 1992, the ICRC suspended its operations. They were resumed in March 1993 with unhindered access under a new agreement with the Government. The ICRC has not reported any attempts to restrict its operations since that time.

Section 5 Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, Language, or Social Status

The 1993 Constitution guarantees equal rights to all citizens and specifically prohibits discrimination based on ethnic origin, race, gender, language, religion, opinion, or economic condition. Nevertheless, discrimination based on sexual preference is pervasive. According to Peru's only gay rights group, the Homosexual Movement of Lima, gays and lesbians are often the target of harassment by police, and hate crimes against them are rarely investigated.


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. Sexual violence, including spousal abuse, is a chronic problem. A survey by a women's rights group in San Martin department indicated that 94 percent of adult women there had been battered. The Association for the Promotion and Development of Women also asserted that there were on average 35 rapes per month in that department. According to the Judicial Committee of the Peruvian Congress, there were over 10,000 official complaints of mistreatment of women in Arequipa, Peru's second-largest city, during the first 7 months of the year. A special police center, staffed by policewomen, operates in Lima to provide legal, medical, and psychiatric assistance to abused spouses and children. Police in Lima receive numerous formal complaints of rape daily but estimate that less than 10 percent are reported. Reports indicate that approximately half of all rapes are perpetrated against minors. A number of women's organizations and feminist groups were active and worked to devise legal and educational means to improve treatment of women in Peru.


The Government's ability to address children's human rights and welfare is generally inadequate. President Fujimori has on numerous occasions emphasized the need to improve education at all levels. However, public schools remain severely underfunded, and 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 of the fathers fail to support the children or their mothers. In addition, orphans have become common throughout Peru, due in large part to the guerrilla war. 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. As a result of these problems and Peru's economic crisis, many children are forced to work in the informal economy to support themselves (see Section 6.d.). As noted above, reports indicate that approximately half of all rapes in Peru are perpetrated against minors. Decree law 25564, issued by President Fujimori in June 1992, provides for minors aged from 15 to 18 to be tried as adults for terrorism offenses. Several dozen minors are awaiting trial or serving time in various Peruvian 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."

Indigenous People

The 1993 Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race and guarantees the right of all citizens to speak their native language. However, since the Spanish conquest, Peru's large indigenous population has faced pervasive discrimination and social prejudice. In general, indigenous people are 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. Colonists, coca cultivators, guerrillas, and business interests steadily encroach on native lands. The civil and political rights of indigenous people are generally protected to the same extent as the rights of other Peruvians. However, many indigenous groups live in isolated areas, which affects 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 several dozen other native language groups. Indigenous people lack access to public services and support in their native lands. Government investment is focused largely on the coast, drawing impoverished migrants to the cities, especially Lima. Groups native to Peru's jungle region find it more difficult each year to cope with the influx of colonists, terrorists, narcotics traffickers, and businesses seeking to exploit natural resources. These groups struggle to maintain their land, environment, native languages and culture. Malnutrition and disease are rampant among many of these tribes.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Peru's population includes several small racial minorities, the largest of whom are blacks of African descent and Asians. Blacks, who tend to be concentrated along the coast, in particular face pervasive discrimination and social prejudice, and are among the poorest groups in Peru. This discrimination tends to exclude blacks from leadership roles in government, military, and business institutions. The few blacks who have been relatively successful financially have done so in the sports and entertainment fields.

People with Disabilities

Although the 1993 Constitution states that disabled persons "have the right 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 provision of access for them. Disabled persons face discrimination when seeking employment; Lima's streets are often the scene of both physically and mentally handicapped people seeking alms. The government-owned television station is the only one that broadcasts a news program with a sign language interpreter each evening. The number of disabled persons increased dramatically as a result of injuries during the guerrilla war.

Section 6 Worker Rights

a. The Right of Association

Only 5 percent of the total work force is estimated to belong to organized labor unions. (Up to two-thirds of Peruvian workers are located in the informal sector of the economy.) Workers do not need prior authorization to form a trade union nor, by law, can employment be conditioned on union membership or nonmembership. 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 memberships in international bodies. One of the express intents of the Fujimori administration in drafting the country's new Constitution was to remove Socialist and populist elements from the 1979 Constitution. The new Constitution eliminates the concept of "labor stability" and gives business owners more flexibility in hiring practices. It provides that the State recognizes the rights to organize a trade union, engage in collective negotiations, and strike. These rights are to be exercised democratically, however, and the right to strike must take account of broader social interests. In a November report, the International Labor Organization (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) indicated that a number of Fujimori administration decree laws could restrict the right of association. These provisions set minimum numbers of employees to form an occupational union, require that candidates for union office in an enterprise have worked at least 1 year in the company, and contain prohibitions on all political activities, on probationary workers joining unions, and on membership in more than one union. Employees exercising management or decisionmaking authority are excluded from the right to organize or strike, as are the police and military. A strike must be approved by a majority of all concerned workers in a company, whether union members or not, in a secret ballot. A new vote must be taken upon petition of 20 percent or more of the workers. The relative infrequency of strikes in 1993 reflected the country's economic depression and an underemployment rate which exceeds 70 percent. Few workers were willing to strike when there were dozens of unemployed available for each job in the formal sector of the economy. Reprisals against striking workers were reportedly infrequent. Union members and officials continued to be targets of terrorist assassination and intimidation attempts. The Peruvian labor movement and its leaders have been generally hostile to terrorist groups and fought their infiltration into the labor movement. Union officials suspected of terrorist links have been detained by the Government. The ILO's CFA continued to request a judicial inquiry into the deaths of teachers following their arrest by the army in 1991, but was satisfied that the terrorist perpetrators of the murder of labor confederation general secretary Pedro Huilca had been convicted. The CFA noted that it lacked the means to second guess the Government's report that Juan Andahua Vergara, another union leader said to have been murdered in 1992, died of natural causes. There were no allegations of union leaders or members being killed by government forces in 1993 because of their union affiliation.

b. The Right To Organize and Bargain Collectively

The 1993 Constitution recognizes the right of public and private workers to organize and bargain collectively. However, these rights must be exercised in harmony with broader social interests. Labor regulations promulgated prior to the ratification of the new Constitution provide that workers may form unions based upon profession, employment, industry, or geographic location. Probationary, apprentice, or management employees are excluded from union membership. A minimum of 20 members are required to form a union within a company and up to a minimum of 100 members is required for larger union groups. The amount of paid leave that union officials may devote to union business on company time is limited to 30 days per year. The Government set up a system of conciliation and arbitration to resolve disputes in collective bargaining impasses. Union officials have complained that their proportionate share of the cost of arbitration exceeds their resources. Some union officials believe that increasing numbers of companies utilize a policy of hiring workers on temporary, personal services contracts to prevent union affiliation. However, 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. Employees cannot legally be dismissed for union affiliation or union activities. Special regulations permitting greater flexibility in application of the Labor Code in export and duty free zones provide for use of temporary labor as needed, flexibility in labor contracts, and a wage system based upon supply and demand. New collective agreements must remain in force at least one year but parties can agree to a longer period for all or a portion of that contract. Agreements automatically lapse upon expiry unless the parties expressly agree otherwise. The parties have the option to make any part or any clause of the agreement "permanent." If an agreement is permanent, renegotiation is not required. A prerequisite for the conclusion of a collective agreement at the industry or trade level is a majority in terms of both the numbers of workers and enterprises. Companies may propose changes of work schedules, working conditions, and wages in collective bargaining agreements based on "extraordinary" circumstances (not statutorily defined but case law demonstrates that this is limited to economic circumstances in which the continuity of the company's activity is at grave risk). As part of the law, however, companies must follow certain procedures before making any such modifications. Prior to submitting a petition to the Ministry of Labor, an employer must first negotiate directly with the union and attempt to find alternative measures. The employer must set forth in writing the extraordinary circumstances, proposed modifications, and causes for justification. If these negotiations fail, the employer may request the Ministry to rule whether the cause of the proposed modification is extraordinary and present evidence to support the claim. Workers have the right to disagree with the employer's claims and present any evidence they wish. Prior to accepting a petition the Ministry of Labor can refer the case to conciliation. Then the Ministry makes a determination on whether extraordinary circumstances exist; if this determination is negative, the parties are directed to continue negotiation. In the event of a positive decision, workers have the statutory right to appeal to the Ministry and, if necessary, the judiciary. The Government reports that since the implementing regulation was enacted in March, there were no modifications to collective agreements based on economic necessity. In November the ILO's CFA stated that many provisions of the Fujimori administration's Decree Law No. 25593 dealing with labor were not in conformity with international norms on the right to organize and bargain collectively and recommended their modification. The ILO expressed concern about the Government's power to cancel union registration administratively, the 1-year minimum validity of labor agreements, the automatic lapsing (unless negotiated as permanent) of all prior negotiated salary and work rule provisions of collective agreements, the excessively broad definition of essential public services, permitting nonmembers to participate in union strike votes, and the Government's power to suspend strikes under certain circumstances.

c. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited, as is imprisonment for debt. However, there were 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 but blamed them on a lack of collaboration by local authorities and employers, and a shortage of resources to enforce existing regulations.

d. Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Education through primary school is compulsory and free. Workers from 16 to 21 years of age are subject to special provisions in the labor law. Their apprenticeship cannot exceed 18 months; and 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. Due to the country's economic conditions, an estimated 90 percent of school-age children work, most in the informal economy without government supervision of wages or conditions, in order to help support their families. There have been reports of children working in remote gold mining operations as well as in the informal segment of the textile industry, but little information is available on the extent of these practices.

e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

The 1993 Constitution provides that workers should receive a "just and sufficient" wage to be determined by the Government in consulation with labor and business representatives and "adequate protection against arbitrary dismissal." The Constitution also provides for a 48-hour workweek, a weekly day of rest, and yearly vacation. Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited. The minimum wage (applicable only in the formal sector of the economy) is fixed by the Government in consultation with labor and business representatives. The minimum wage, which has not been raised since February 1992, was $34 per month, which is generally considered grossly inadequate to support a worker and family. While occupational health and safety standards exist, the Government lacks the resources to monitor compliance. With underemployment rates above 70 percent in the informal unorganized sectors of the economy, what one worker might consider a dangerous situation many others would willingly accept for sake of employment. Compensation for industrial accidents generally is worked out individually between the worker and owners. Reforms eliminating the need to prove culpability to obtain workman's compensation for injuries were too new for their effectiveness to be determined by year's end.

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