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Startseite Urgent Actions 2010 09 Excessive force against protesters feared
UA 209/10
Abgeschlossen am 4. November 2010

Excessive force against protesters feared

AI-Index: AMR 46/016/2010

Peruvian communities protesting against an irrigation project they believe will restrict their water supply are at risk from a new law which could enable the military to use excessive force against them with impunity.

Protests began on 13 September in the town of Espinar, near Cusco, in southern Peru in response to a planned irrigation project named ‘Majes Siguas II’. Despite two judicial rulings suspending the tender process for the project and ordering an environmental impact assessment, the government has gone ahead with the tender process. The protest spread from Espinar to nearby Cusco where it gained momentum and wide support.

Decree Law 1095 issued by the President on 1 September allows the use of the military during civil unrest. This appears to include demonstrations. The past use of the military for law enforcement purposes in Peru has resulted in grave human rights violations and should be seriously reconsidered. The law also specifies that should the military commit any illegal acts during their deployment in these situations, these will be dealt with in military courts. Military courts in Peru are neither impartial nor independent and have a long history of impunity. Moreover, international human rights standards state perpetrators of human rights violations must be tried in civilian courts.

In anticipation of the protests, the Peruvian government issued a resolution on 11 September authorizing the deployment of the military in Espinar under the new Decree Law 1095. Amnesty International believes that the spirit of this Decree Law contravenes human rights standards and may result in excessive force in the protests in Cusco and in other situations of legitimate social protest and that should this occur, violations will go unpunished. There have been several instances of excessive force by the Peruvian security forces over the past year.

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