denounced "Crimes against humanity"

As “crimes against humanity” defined the Mission of International Solidarity and Human Rights of Argentina, the repressive actions of the Peruvian government against social protests. In a preliminary report made public this Monday –the end will be delivered in 15 or 20 days– this mission, made up of organizations and two national deputies, denounces murders, arbitrary detentions, sexual abuse, torture, judicial persecution, intimidation and threats against the population. Due to their “systematic and generalized” nature, these crimes are defined as “against humanity.” The report concludes that for these crimes, “the Peruvian State must be investigated.”

In little more than two months of protests there are 60 deaths, of which 48 –among them seven teenagers– were killed by the police and the army, without anyone being denounced for these crimes. And there are more than a thousand wounded. This report denounces that in many hospitals they do not want to treat the wounded and some had to leave the health centers to avoid being detained. Protesters and leaders are stigmatized by political power and the media as violent and terrorists. And they are persecuted with legal proceedings for terrorism.

The members of the Argentine human rights mission were in Lima, Juliaca –a highland city epicenter of the greatest violence with 20 dead and 200 injured–, Ayacucho — where in one day the army murdered 10 protesters–, Cusco – -another Andean scene of harsh repression where a peasant leader was assassinated– and Ica, south of Lima, which was militarized. They met with relatives of the victims, wounded and social leaders. They heard dramatic testimonies marked by pain and the fear of denouncing the threats. They asked to meet with President Dina Boluarte, with her Minister of Justice, José Tello, and with the National Prosecutor, Patricia Benavides. But they did not receive them. They tried to talk to Pedro Castillo, but they were not given permission.

Speaking to Página/12, representative Juan Marino of the Frente de Todos –member of this mission– said that this report will seek international condemnation of the repression in Peru. “Together with Deputy Francisco Fagioli, we will present a draft declaration to the Chamber of Deputies to condemn human rights violations in Peru. We will meet with parliamentarians from across the region to speak out. There must be a great international campaign to prevent the massacres, the murders, the persecution from continuing in Peru. This report will be an element on which complaints will be filed before international organizations.

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Lawyer Juan Grabois, a member of this mission, said that in Peru “there is a systematic breach of the guidelines of the rule of law, of the most elementary standards of human rights.” This mission has verified how, from the media, repression is justified and encouraged. “We have seen that in a shameless way people appear on television to ask for the murder of other people. This is something that even in critical situations, we have not seen so openly in other countries”.

In the repression there is a high dose of racism against the Andean populations, where most of the victims are concentrated. “Racism is terrible. If this racism against the peasant, the indigenous, the poor did not exist, and this invisibility of the most serious violations of human rights, it would be much more difficult for those who commit these crimes to do so. There is a campaign of stigmatization, discrimination, defamation, which deepens the situation of violence”, denounced Grabois.

Marianela Navarro, who was in Juliaca as part of this mission, described the stories of the residents as “heartbreaking.” “We can point out that there has been a plan and an intent to kill. Many victims are shot in the back. The State has massacred humble people. Indigenous women, peasants, cried and said: ‘500 years of discrimination, of oppression, and they kill us like animals.’ The population denounces a permanent judicial persecution. There is an articulation of the different powers of the State to prevent people from denouncing, there is a policy aimed at ensuring that there is no justice, that there is impunity. Relatives of the victims are threatened so that they do not report it.”

Because they are crimes against humanity, these crimes do not prescribe and can be judged internationally. “It is important,” Grabois said, “that human rights violators know that although they may temporarily corrupt their country’s justice system, when things are duly documented, in the long run or in the short run, these crimes are paid for.”

The right wing that governs Peru continues to isolate itself internationally. This Tuesday, the Congressional Foreign Relations Committee declared Colombian President Gustavo Petro persona non grata, who, referring to the deployment days ago of ten thousand police officers to repress the protests in Lima, pointed out that “in Peru they march like Nazis against their own people ”. The police troops were deployed through the center of the city in a staging that was reminiscent of fascist marches.

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