CPDE-LAC Statement on Political Repression in Peru: Respect for life and democracy in Peru

The Latin American and Caribbean constituency of the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE-LAC), with a presence in 12 countries in Latin American region, has issued a public statement on the serious political and human rights situation in Peru:

According to public polls the current parliament has a disapproval rate of 90% of the population. This parliament obstructed Pedro Castillo’s government from the beginning of his administration, eventually removing him from power illegally. In an effort to further clamp down their power the appeals chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court upheld the decision to keep former president Pedro Castillo in pre-trial detention for 18 months while he is investigated on charges of rebellion.

The de facto government of Dina Boluarte, for its part, has resulted in a military police dictatorship, marked by assassinations, arrests and widespread political persecution, and an irresponsible and anti-democratic handling of the media in Lima.

In this context, we regret the tragic death of twenty-nine Peruvian citizens resulting from police and military repression of the mass protests against the current government; this repression is being felt by a large part of the country.

From CPDE-LAC we express our solidarity with the victims and their families, the communities suffering from unrest, protestors putting their lives at risk and the Peruvian people. We join the call to stop the deaths and to abandon the current policy of confronting the discontent of a significant part of the population with criminalisation and political repression, and to establish a genuine dialogue and construction of minimum consensus for the stability and development of the country.

Respect for human life, as stipulated in international  human rights norms, must be above all other considerations and is the basic standard for the legitimacy of any government.

The current political crisis is the corollary of a long crisis within the Peruvian political system, as evidenced in the existence of six presidents over the last six years, two democratically elected in general elections and four elected by Congress, using and abusing questionable loopholes in the current institutional framework. This gives rise to the inevitable and increasingly unstoppable demand to change this obviously worn-out and crisis-ridden political institutions, through a constituent process that must begin with a constituent consultation, so that the entire citizenry, the only one mandated and legitimised to do so, can decide what changes are necessary. This fundamental reality cannot be avoided without paying the price of prolonging and aggravating the crisis.

We call for political actors to be held accountable, including congress (the main culprits of this crisis), the de facto president, the armed forces and police, and the media, especially in Lima, which right now play a biased and irresponsible role of political persecution, to take charge of this reality, welcoming the demands of the citizens to find a way out of the crisis. In particular, the immediate call for new general elections to give democratic legitimacy to the political order. To this end, one possible way forward is the resignation of Dina Boluarte, the resignation of the congressional leadership, and the appointment of a new president in congress who would provide minimum guarantees of credibility and consensus for a provisional transitional government and whose task would be to call for new general elections and a constituent consultation so that the people can decide the destiny of the country, as a minimum demand. President Pedro Castillo must be released, given the formal and substantive illegalities of his detention and the absurd, unfounded accusations of armed rebellion against him.

The eyes of the world watch Peru and view with concern and even outrage that the current government is using the National Police to crackdown on those critical to their regime, by keeping a record on official documents and videos, registered in the official police website and in the media.

Congress is operating illegally by assuming de facto constituent functions in trying to capture other autonomous powers of the State, such as the Electoral Bodies, the Ombudsman’s Office and the Judiciary, in addition to seeking to be re-elected, despite and against the overwhelming public rejection of the majority of the country.

We are confident that, by recovering a democratic and participatory path, the Peruvian people will be able to reform their political system, give it legitimacy, and turn it into an instrument of peace and development to solve the pending tasks of equality and inclusion.

Down with the state of emergency, freedom for Pedro Castillo, the resignation of Dina Boluarte and the Congress Board, a new transitional government to immediate call for general elections and a constituent consultation with the closure of Congress.

Respect for life and democracy in Peru.

Solidarity with the Peruvian people.

January 9th, 2023, Latin America and the Caribbean

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