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Peru 2023

Security forces responded to protests with excessive use of force, especially in regions with largely Indigenous populations. Reparations for the La Pampilla refinery oil spill had still not happened. Human rights defenders remained at significant risk, and impunity for killings prevailed. Sexual and gender-based violence remained prevalent, including against children and adolescents. Authorities obstructed the right to abortion in cases of child pregnancy. New legislation undermined gender equality. LGTBI people continued to face violence and discriminatory legislation. Authorities denied Venezuelans the protection they were due. Victims of forced sterilization had still not been granted reparation. Authorities released former president Alberto Fujimori from prison, disregarding a ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and undermining justice for victims.


The political and social crisis that began in December 2022 continued into 2023. Authorities weakened institutions such as the Public Prosecutor´s Office, the Constitutional Court, the Ombudsperson’s Office and the National Board of Justice, posing threats to human rights.

Freedom of peaceful assembly

Protests that began in December 2022 in response to a change of government continued during January and February. Authorities responded with lethal force and excessive use of less-lethal force. The crackdown resulted in 50 deaths (49 civilians and one police officer), with hundreds of people injured. Security forces’ use of unlawful force had a racist bias, particularly targeting Indigenous Peoples. Security forces carried out at least 20 possible extrajudicial executions.1

In July, protests resumed during national celebrations for Independence Day. Security forces used tear gas and rubber pellets disproportionately, carried out possible arbitrary arrests, and harassed journalists.

In November, amid investigations that led to her dismissal from office, the Attorney General presented a constitutional complaint against President Dina Boluarte and four former ministers for the deaths of five people in Ayacucho, Cusco, the capital, Lima and Puno, and of injuries to one man in Lima during protests in December and January.2 The criminal investigation resumed against police officers regarding the deaths of two young men and dozens of injured people who protested on 14 November 2020 in relation to the presidency of Manuel Merino.

The Police Protection Law, which eliminated the principle of proportionality in the use of force, remained active in contravention of international standards.

Right to a healthy environment

Two years after the oil spill from the La Pampilla refinery in Ventanilla district, Callao province, fishermen in the vicinity claimed that formal registration of people affected by the spill was still incomplete. Affected people continued to report that they had not been provided with effective remedies. Furthermore, the necessary remediation and clean-up had not been carried out.

People affected by environmental contamination in Espinar, Cusco and other regions had still not received specialized health services, despite a court ruling in 2020 obliging the health system to provide such services in Espinar province, and implement a cross-sector intervention plan with an allocated budget in several regions.

Human rights defenders

The killings of four human rights defenders were reported: land defender Cristino Melchor Flores in Piura region; Santiago Contoricón, an Indigenous Asháninka human rights leader in Junín region; Quinto Inuma, an Indigenous Kichwa leader in San Martin region who was granted protection measures in 2021; and Benjamín Flores from the Kakataibo Indigenous community. Impunity persisted for most killings of defenders, including for the murder of environmental defender Roberto Pacheco in 2020 in Madre de Dios region.

The Ministry of the Interior continued to lack a protocol for the protection of human rights defenders as part of the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders.

Sexual and gender-based violence

In 2023, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations registered 142,182 cases of violence against women, girls and adolescents, a 7% increase on 2022. Of these, 28,991 were cases of sexual violence, of which 50% were against female adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years. Over the same period, the ministry registered 11,944 cases of rape – of which 7,757 (66%) were against children and adolescents – but only 2,922 rape kits were delivered. Also over the same period, 170 femicides were registered (an increase of 16% compared with the same period in 2022), and 258 attempted femicides.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 10,817 women and girls were reported missing, representing 59% of all missing persons. Only 50% of these women and girls had been found; despite this, a specialized search system with a gender focus had not been implemented.

Sexual and reproductive rights

In June, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child ruled that Peru had failed to fulfil its obligations to protect Camila, a 13-year-old Indigenous girl who had been denied an abortion. The ruling binds the Peruvian state to provide abortions in all cases of child pregnancy. Various organizations denounced at least five cases of pregnant girls aged under 15 years who had been denied abortions in Loreto, Cajamarca and Cusco regions. According to the Ministry of Health, in 2023, there were 1,354 births by girls and adolescents aged under 15 years, including four girls aged under 11 years.

LGBTI people’s rights

LGBTI organizations reported that in 2023 there were at least eight murders of transgender women, which could be considered hate crimes. Despite this, there was still no official registry of hate crimes. There still lacked an accessible and transparent administrative process to allow transgender people to obtain an identity document without resorting to judicial processes. Marriage and children of same-sex couples were still not legally recognized.

Refugees’ and migrants’ rights

More than 1.5 million Venezuelans in need of protection living in Peru faced obstacles to seeking asylum. As of July, 98% of asylum applications remained pending. Visas that were available failed to comply with basic conditions, such as protection from forcible return or access to health services.3 Thousands of Venezuelans were denied the right to work because officials did not recognize their status and corresponding rights. Venezuelan women were especially at risk, and many who had suffered gender-based violence did not attend protection facilities due to fear, mistrust or misinformation.

Stigmatization and xenophobic discourse against Venezuelans were promoted by the authorities and media.

On 10 November – the official deadline for foreign nationals to regularize their migratory status – authorities announced that they would expel everyone lacking a regular migratory status, leaving thousands unprotected, both within and outside the country.

Right to truth, justice and reparation

After 31 years, the remains of Dora Oyague, Marcelino Rosales, Bertila Lozano, Felipe Flores Chipana and Armando Amaro Condor, among 10 people from La Cantuta university who were forcibly disappeared, tortured and killed in 1992, were returned to their families.

For the first time, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights reviewed a case regarding the forced sterilization policy of the 1990s – that of Celia Ramos. In November, the Supreme Court upheld a 2022 ruling ordering reparations to the victims. In December, however, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court annulled the opening of the judicial investigation against former president Alberto Fujimori and other authorities for this policy.

In December, the Constitutional Court ordered the release of Alberto Fujimori, contravening the rights of victims of grave human rights violations for which the former president had been found responsible and disregarding the orders of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights prohibiting his release.

Twenty years after the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2003, many of the recommendations had not been complied with, and 19,000 people remained forcibly disappeared as a result of the internal armed conflict.

  1. Peru: Lethal Racism: Extrajudicial Executions and Unlawful Use of Force by Peru’s Security Forces, 25 May
  2. “Peru: Investigations against president and security forces must not put justice for victims at risk”, 6 December
  3. Americas: Regularization and Protection: International Obligations for the Protection of Venezuelan Nationals, 21 September