The Peruvian government was likely to use lethal violence in marginalized areas of the country as part of the recent crackdown on anti-government protests, according to a report by human rights group Amnesty International. rice field.
Thursday’s report “Fatal Racism” argued that government actions could amount to extrajudicial executions in some cases. Amnesty International has called on the Peruvian Attorney General’s Office to investigate the excessive use of force during the protests.
“The use of lethal firearms against demonstrators shows a blatant disregard for human life,” Amnesty International Executive Director Agnes Calamar said in a press release.
“Despite government attempts to portray them as terrorists and criminals, those killed were demonstrators, observers and bystanders. Almost all of them were poor, indigenous and from Campesino. , suggesting racial and socioeconomic biases in the use of lethal force.”
The report says the Peruvian government has used disproportionate violence, targeting the poor and people from indigenous backgrounds, amid protests that have engulfed the country following the ouster of former president Pedro Castillo. This is the latest report that reveals that
Peru’s Attorney General’s Office should investigate everyone up to the highest level who ordered or tolerated the unlawful use of lethal force by security forces that killed 49 people during the December-February protests. be. https://t.co/3pujU9Z7uq
— Amnesty International (@amnesty) May 25, 2023
Boruarte faces criticism
The crisis began on December 7, when Castillo went to his third impeachment hearing.
Castillo’s attempt to dissolve the Peruvian parliament and rule by decree rather than face the opposition-led parliament is widely considered illegal. He was quickly impeached, removed from office, and arrested. Former vice-president Dina Boluarte was sworn in as Peru’s first female president.
Castillo’s supporters, many from poor rural areas considered neglected by the state, took to the streets to protest his detention. Among their demands were calls for a new constitution and elections.
Since then, the Boruarte government has been criticized for its tough response to the protests and failure to address public grievances. Amnesty International reported that 49 protesters were killed between December and February.
The government’s response has also increased tensions between Peru and other countries in the region, particularly those with Castillo and friendly leftist leaders.
Peruvian authorities on Thursday declared Mr Bolarte a persona non grata after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador accused him for months of being a “puppet”. He also offered Castillo and his family asylum to Mexico.
Lopez Obrador became the second major Latin American leader to be labeled that, after former Bolivian President Evo Morales.
“Language of Terror”
Amnesty International’s report analyzed 52 recorded casualties, including 25 fatalities, in areas such as Ayacucho, Juliaca, Andahuaylas and Chincheros.
The organization concluded that 20 of those 25 killings could amount to extrajudicial executions. These incidents included security forces using live ammunition against crowds, targeting vulnerable parts of the body such as the head, neck and abdomen.
Faced with criticism and demands for accountability, Peruvian authorities often frame protesters as agitators for anarchy.
“We have occupied a country that is polarized, a country in conflict, a country with a militant sector that has its own agenda to create anarchy and chaos and destroy our institutions and our democracy,” said Volarte. said in a January speech.
“Maybe we are going back to the days of terrorist violence when dogs were hung on lampposts?”
Will Freeman, a Latin American studies fellow at the U.S. think tank Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), told Al Jazeera that such rhetoric draws on collective memories of the civil war that roiled Peru in the 1980s and 1990s. Told.
Meanwhile, armed groups such as the Maoist Shining Path attempted to overthrow the government and launched violent operations targeting civilians, including indigenous people.
In response, the government launched a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that included widespread abuses.
“Politicians are trying to draw parallels with the current protesters from the history of the Shining Road, which is wrong and offensive,” Freeman said by phone. rice field. “They use the word terrorism as a weapon to scare people.”
An Amnesty International report found that even if protests were similar in frequency and intensity to other areas, authorities could still use deadly violence in areas with large indigenous populations, such as Ayacucho. It was expensive.
“The findings of this report are just the tip of the iceberg in Peru’s tragic history of discrimination and exclusion against indigenous peoples,” Erica Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director, told Al Jazeera via email.
It added that family members of victims spoken to by Amnesty International described “degrading treatment in hospitals and public offices with insults that hinted at their ethnic identity.”
Peru’s attorney general launched a series of investigations in January to identify those responsible for the deaths of mostly civilians in the riots, but Guevara-Rose said the blame remained far away.
“The authorities have not taken any significant responsibility for the crimes committed by the police and military in recent months,” she said.
“Basic steps need to be taken urgently, including urgent interviews with police and military personnel, conducting the remaining forensic investigations, and ensuring investigations are conducted at the scene and close to the victims.”