Open letter to the Attorney General of Peru on acts of intimidation against human rights organisations

Greg Ma

20 January, 2023. The Observatory for the protection of Human Rights Defenders (partnership of the International Federation for Human Rights-FIDH and World Organisation Against Torture-OMCT) is concerned by the latest acts of intimidation and harassment against Asociación pro derechos humanos (APRODEH), Coordinadora nacional de derechos humanos (CNDDHH) et Instituto de defensa legal (IDL) by extreme right-wing groups. It calls on the Attorney General of Peru to investigate these recent acts in order to bring those responsible to justice.

To: Dr. Patricia Benavides, Attorney General of Peru.
In Paris-Geneva, 20 January 2023

Her Excellency the Attorney General of Peru:

Please accept the warmest regards from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory), a joint program of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

On this occasion, we are writing to express our concern for the recent acts of intimidation, harassment and defamation against the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH); its executive director and Secretary General of FIDH Gloria Cano; the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDDHH); and the Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL), by groups of violent individuals.

On 17 January 2023, individuals belonging to the extreme right-wing group La Resistencia gathered in front of APRODEH’s offices in Lima. They displayed banners and shouted defamatory and hateful slogans against the organisation and its director for their activities in defence of human rights. On the same day, they also demonstrated in front of the offices of the CNDDHH and IDL in Lima. As a result, the CNDDHH filed a complaint before your Office against the group La Resistencia for threatening and defaming the CNDDHH and for disturbing public tranquility. APRODEH also brought the facts to the attention of the Attorney General of Peru’s Office.

APRODEH is a Peruvian non-governmental organisation, member of FIDH and OMCT, and committed to the comprehensive defense and promotion of human rights. Its mission is to contribute to the development of social, legal and political processes that safeguard and promote the enjoyment of all rights for all citizens, within the framework of greater efforts to build an equitable and democratic country. The CNDDHH is a coalition of civil society organisations working in the defence, promotion and education of human rights in Peru, and is part of OMCT’s SOS-Torture Network. The Instituto de Defensa Legal (IDL) is a civil society institution whose purpose is the promotion and defence of human rights, democracy and peace in Peru and Latin America.

It should be noted that this is not the first time that APRODEH, the CNDDHH and the IDL have been targeted by violent individuals because of their legitimate work in defence of human rights. In April 2022, the group La Resistencia had already organised a similar attack in front of APRODEH’s offices, intimidating and defaming the organisation and its members, who had been denounced to your Office. In 2022, the CNDDHH and IDL had also denounced the group La Resistencia before your office for organised crime. Despite the investigation opened against them, these groups continue to act with impunity.

The Observatory reiterates its utmost concern after these new acts of intimidation against APRODEH, the CNDDH and the IDL, which in the current context of the country, acquire a greater gravity, as they legitimise possible physical attacks against these organisations, They have denounced the current authoritarian drift of the national government to repress with excessive use of force the massive demonstrations of the Peruvian population. At the time of writing this letter, the repression leaves a balance of at least 46 people dead, which could worsen in the coming days with the continuation of the massive marches in the country.

We, the undersigned organisations respectfully request that you, in your capacity as Attorney General of Peru, conduct an immediate, independent and impartial investigation into the acts of intimidation and defamation mentioned above, so that those responsible may be brought before a competent, independent, fair and impartial tribunal, and that the criminal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law may be applied to them.

We thank you in advance for your attention and remain at your disposal should you require any additional information.

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