Peru: State must immediately repeal law that sends a wrong message of impunity for possible police abuses amidst the COVID-19 emergency

Peru must repeal the Police Protection Law (No. 31102) approved by Congress and published on Saturday, 28 March because it violates international human rights law and could pave the way for impunity and excessive use of force by the National Police and the armed forces, Amnesty International said today. While this law remains in force, the organization calls on the judicial authorities not to apply it because it is contrary to human rights.

“Peru has an obligation to protect and guarantee everyone’s right to health. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, states can impose certain restrictions on some human rights to protect public health, but they should not under any circumstances use it as an excuse to enact laws that send a message of impunity for abuses committed by security forces”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

“We strongly condemn the attacks in recent days against the police and the armed forces but deviating from the principle of proportionality constitutes a violation of human rights in the current state of emergency. If the law is not repealed, it will continue to violate these rights after the crisis, since it will remain in force. This is why we are calling on the state to take a step back”, said Marina Navarro Mangado, executive director of Amnesty International Peru.

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, states can impose certain restrictions on some human rights to protect public health, but they should not under any circumstances use it as an excuse to enact laws that send a message of impunity for abuses committed by security forces
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

International human rights standards state that force should not be used except when strictly necessary and that its use must be proportionate, for a legitimate purpose and subject to a process of accountability. In Peru, Legislative Decree 1186 of 2015 contained this principle of the proportionate use of force. However, Law No. 31102, published this Saturday, seeks to derogate from it. Law No. 31102 also establishes a presumption in favour of the police about the reasonableness of the use of lethal force; that is, the use of force by the police is understood to be reasonable unless proven otherwise, among other worrying provisions.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Duncan Tucker (Amnesty International Americas): duncan.tucker@amnesty.org

Cecilia Niezen (Amnesty International Peru): c.niezen@amnistia.org.pe

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