A new report says the killing of protesters amid widespread unrest may amount to “extrajudicial killings.”
A human rights commission has declared that the Peruvian government committed abuses of repressed about widespread unrest following the arrest of former President Pedro Castillo in December.
In a report released Wednesday, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said the state’s response to the nationwide protests could be classified as a “massacre.”
“There were serious human rights violations that must be investigated with due diligence and an ethno-racial focus,” IACHR President Margarette May Macaulay said in a report. “The deaths could constitute extrajudicial killings.”
Peru has continued to grapple with a political crisis, sparked on December 7, when Castillo tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree while facing a third impeachment hearing. Those actions led to his arrest and subsequent protests, calling for his release. new elections and a revised constitution.
Reuters reported that more than 60 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters since December, the vast majority of them protesters.
But administration Castillo’s successor, President Dina Boluarte, has dismissed the violence as the product of “terrorists” and agitators, and has called for a national “truce.” Peruvian authorities have denied any abuses, despite criticism of the government response.
The IACHR said that a large number of those killed and injured in the protests had been attacked with firearms. He also found that many of the harshest responses took place in rural andean regions like Ayacucho and Puno, both with large indigenous populations.
An earlier report by human rights group Amnesty International called the government crackdown “systemically racist” for disproportionately targeting indigenous populations who have already suffered a history of neglect, disenfranchisement and state violence.
In a statement on Wednesday, Amnesty called on the Canadian government to stop arms exports to the Peruvian government.
“The state’s callous disregard for life and the rights of the people should sound the alarm for any country that has sold or plans to sell weapons to Peru,” Marina Navarro, executive director of Amnesty International Peru, said in the statement.
The IACHR report was written after the commission visited Peru to meet with relatives of victims, government officials, and members of civil society for two days in January. follow a recent Human Rights Watch report which concluded that government forces had killed the protesters.
In January, Peru’s attorney general launched a query series in protest-related deaths. Protesters continue to call for Boluarte’s resignation and early elections.
However, such calls have yet to be translated into accountability or a path out of the country’s political crisis. Boluarte herself has urged the legislature to speed up a new electoral round, but Congress has rejected efforts to do it