Peru: UN rights office calls for probe into protestor deaths

Lima, the capital of Peru.
Unsplash/Barbara Zandoval
Lima, the capital of Peru.

Peru: UN rights office calls for probe into protestor deaths

Human Rights

Investigations must be held into deaths and injuries that have occurred amid ongoing anti-government protests in Peru, the UN human rights office, OHCHR, said on Tuesday, responding to the latest bloodshed. 

“We are very concerned at the rising violence in Peru, which on Monday 9 January saw one of the deadliest days since unrest erupted in early December,” Spokesperson Marta Hurtado said in a statement.

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The protests were sparked after the former President, Pedro Castillo, attempted to dissolve Congress and rule by decree, which many viewed as unconstitutional.   

Mr. Castillo was subsequently arrested and replaced by the Vice President, prompting his supporters to take to the streets. 

Latest deadly clash 

Clashes involving police and armed forces have left some 40 people dead, and 518 injured. 

Citing official reports, OHCHR said a least 17 people, including a minor, were killed on Monday in Juliaca, in the southern region of Puno, while a police officer was killed on Tuesday after his vehicle was set ablaze.  

“We urge the authorities to carry out prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the deaths and injuries, holding those responsible to account and ensuring victims receive access to justice and redress,” said Ms. Hurtado. 

“We note the Government has sent a high-level mission to Puno and has convened a national dialogue platform. It is essential that any negotiations are meaningful, with the involvement of all stakeholders,” she added. 

Appeal for restraint 

Ahead of a planned national strike over the coming days, OHCHR has called on the demonstrators to show restraint while exercising their right of peaceful assembly.  

“We reiterate our call for security forces to comply with human rights standards and ensure that force is only used when strictly necessary, and, if so, in full compliance with the principles of legality, precaution, and proportionality,” said Ms. Hurtado.