Peru: Police must respect human rights at all times, Amnesty demands as protests intensify

Following the detention of 156 demonstrators in Peru, including 127 in Lima, Amnesty International called on the police not to use excessive force, as protests enter final day.

“The authorities have an obligation to maintain law and order,” said Nuria Garcia, Peru researcher at Amnesty International.” However, the security forces must also ensure that force is not used unless necessary and only to the minimum extent required.”

“People have the right and must be allowed to protest peacefully without fear of imprisonment, criminal charges or other reprisals,” said Nuria Garcia. “Those detained must be charged with a recognizable offence or immediately released.”

The National Front in Defence of Life and Sovereignty — made up of Trade Unions and Indigenous and civil society organizations — called for three days of nationwide demonstrations between 7 and 9 July. They are protesting against a series of decree laws over the use of land and natural resources in the Amazon. Indigenous communities in the Amazon were not consulted on this legislation, despite the fact that Peru has ratified the International Labour Organization Convention 169, which obliges them to do so.

In June, at least 33 people were killed, including 23 police officers, and 200 injured after the police forcibly removed Indigenous demonstrators protesting against the same decree laws who had blocked the approach road to Bagua in the Peruvian Amazon. Seventy-nine protestors were reportedly detained in Bagua, with 21 still in custody. Some of the detainees were reportedly tortured and ill-treated and prevented from accessing legal assistance and interpreters.