Peru: UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders condemns stigmatisation and criminalisation of human rights defenders

The UN Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst, visited Peru from 21 January to 3 February 2020 on a mission to assess the situation of human rights defenders. In his conclusions, he deplored that the ’lack of recognition, stigmatisation and criminalisation of human rights defenders by State and non-state actors are systemic issues that mutually reinforce each other and pose serious obstacles for the human rights work of environmental, land and indigenous people’s rights defenders’.

FIDH, through its Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, has worked extensively on the Las Bambas mine case in Peru relating to the trial of 19 land rights defenders, criminalised for protesting against the negative impacts caused by the Las Bambas project, a large copper mine owned by the Chinese consortium MMG Limited. Such a recurring pattern of human and environmental rights violations, notably committed by Chinese companies, has previously been denounced by FIDH and the Colectivo sobre Financiamiento e Inversiones Chinas, Derechos Humanos y Ambiente (CICDHA), a coalition of 20 human rights organisations, in their joint report published ahead of China’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2018.

The Las Bambas case was highlighted by the UN Special Rapporteur during his mission. He called on the government to ’commit to the adoption of a Multi-sectoral mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders, currently planned for 2021 in the National Action Plan on Human Rights’. It is crucial that the business sector support not only its full and effective implementation but also the development of a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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