Even though these violations happened more than twenty years ago, many victims continue to wait for answers and compensation.
New York, NY (PRWEB) June 27, 2013
Thousands of victims of Peru’s internal conflict are still awaiting compensation and benefits as part of a 2005 national reparations plan, says a report released today by the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).
The 36-page report, “Reparations in Peru: From Recommendations to Implementation,” looks at the government of Peru’s mixed record of providing compensation to individuals and communities that suffered some of the most serious crimes during the war. As the report outlines, programs born of the Comprehensive Reparations Plan have suffered from delays, changes in policy, and competing narratives about the conflict and its perpetrators—which in some cases have denied victims and their families the right to reparation.
More than 69,000 people were killed or forcibly disappeared during Peru’s 20-year conflict. Thousands more were victims of torture, illegal detention, sexual violence, forced recruitment, and massive displacement.
A striking feature of the conflict, described by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CRV) in its 2003 Final Report, is that the majority of victims were Quechua-speaking indigenous civilians, living in the mountainous Andean and Amazon provinces. Their communities, caught in the middle of the struggle between rebel forces and the government, were already suffering the effects of historic persecution, political exclusion, and poverty.
Reparations were intended as a way to adequately compensate victims for crimes they had suffered, provide them with conditions of full citizenship, and lay the foundations of a new social pact.
“Even though these violations happened more than twenty years ago, many victims continue to wait for answers and compensation,” says Cristián Correa, author of the ICTJ report. “They have navigated the long registration process to be recognized as victims and rights bearers—only to find that the government isn’t ready to deliver on legislated projects. These delays are inconsistent with the message of a reparations policy.”
The national reparations plan, which is based on recommendations from the CVR, provides different forms of reparations to victims to help repair the worst consequences of the violence. Programs range from specialized health care and education to memorialization and monetary compensation delivered as one-time cash payments of 10,000 soles (or USD$ 3,700).
“Peru’s reparations plan has focused not only on providing redress for crimes suffered individually by many people,” explains Ruben Carranza, director of ICTJ’s Reparative Justice program. “It’s also directed at communities that suffered the worst violations during the war. Combined together, these programs are designed to provide a message of inclusion and recognition to victims.”
According to the ICTJ report, the government, so far, has implemented its reparations plan unevenly, with some programs receiving significant funding and attention, while others have gone virtually ignored. According to official statistics, only one in five victims has received monetary reparations, and programs for education and health care have experienced very little progress.
One of the largest programs to be implemented is for Collective Reparations, which provides redress to victims on a collective basis. Through this program, communities have received investment projects of up to 100,000 soles (USD$ 37,000) to help them to rebuild their infrastructure and strengthen their ability to participate in development.
Most projects have focused on livestock activities and building new irrigation systems, community halls, drains, additional schoolrooms, or roads. By the end of 2013, 1,946 communities will have benefited.
The program, however, has faced some problems. According to the ICTJ report, residents do not always see investment projects as reparations for conflict-era violations. Instead, many view them as a welcome form of development to which they are already entitled, as social and economic rights. For example, as part of a Collective Reparations project in Acomayo, which was documented by ICTJ and the Association for Human Rights in Peru (APRODEH), half of a street was paved in the town center near the health clinic.
In part, the confusion between reparations and development arises because government representatives have fallen short in their obligation to link projects with an official recognition of harms suffered, says the report. The result is that collective reparations projects do not always go far enough in acknowledging serious crimes and commemorating victims.
“The government’s inability to comply with mandated reparations shows some unwillingness to overcome historic discrimination and include indigenous and poor communities as equal citizens,” explains Correa. “For the sake of the victims and the whole society, the pace of reparations needs to speed up and the national reparations plan needs to be followed in full.”