Peru: Victims of Violence Demand Reparations
Chanduvi Jana, Elsa, NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs
On July 15, hundreds of people from 14 regions in Peru whose lives were seriously affected by the political violence that battered the country between 1980 and 2000 arrived at the Congress building in Lima to demand that the government fulfill its commitment to provide them with individual economic reparations.
"We demand individual economic reparations. Old people affected by the violence are dying and have received nothing so far," Marino Balbo, a victims' representative in Huancavelica department in the central highlands, told reporters.
The Plan Integral de Reparaciones Individuales (PIR) approved in 2005 (see NotiSur, 2009-04-03) provides for creating a Registro Unico de Victimas (RUV), which to date has names of more than 76,000 persons. Because of its small budget, the RUV has been unable to complete the entries, having finished only 50% of the registry. The truth commission (Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliation, CVR) report indicated that 70,000 people died between 1980 and 2000, most of them poor and from the Andean highlands.
"Reparations for victims of the violence is an obligation that the state must fulfill without delay. Many mothers and fathers who lost their children and loved ones in the most tragic period of violence have been waiting years for their just demands to be met. That is their right. Now they are elderly, and some have already died without receiving their due," said Defensora del Pueblo Beatriz Merino.
Merino met with leaders of the victims of violence and presented them with the timetable approved for 2010 regarding reparations, which prioritizes expediting the RUV and designing and implementing the individual-reparations programs in health, education, and in economic assistance.
To date, the government has not drawn up any plan for paying individual reparations. A pending issue for fulfilling this commitment is creating a technical commission to establish payment conditions as well as a budget item for the reparations payments.
For the time being, after the march to Lima by the people affected by the political violence, Prime Minister Javier Velasquez Quesquen announced that in 2011, the last year of President Alan Garcia's term, his administration will turn over 20 million soles (US$7 million) in individual economic reparations to relatives of both civilian and military victims. In addition, the executive created a Comision Tecnica Multisectorial that will be in charge of the technical and methodological aspects of implementing the reparations plan.
Velasquez added that among mechanisms being evaluated for making the payment plan effective was incorporating those 70 years of age and above into the anti-poverty program Juntos and giving them "100 soles [US$35] a month for the rest of their lives." He also mentioned the possibility of providing university scholarships for victims' relatives and including them in the universal healthcare system.
During Garcia's three and a half years in office, his administration has distributed 155 million soles (US$54 million) in collective reparations, benefiting 1,343 communities, said Velasquez.
"Reparations are an expectation that the victims have had for a long time. There are people who have been waiting for this for more than 20 years. Although the government has begun making reparations, the amount seems very small for 2011, but anyway something is better than nothing. Regarding the possible payment of 100 soles a month to those over 70 years of age, it doesn't seem fair to me; it does nothing for them. What we do not know or what has not yet been released is how much the government is going to give each family," Fr. Gaston Garatea, a former member of the CVR, told the daily El Comercio.
Compensations and reparations
"The state must fulfill various obligations," both to the victims and to the aggressors, according to various Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) decisions, Merino told reporters, but she emphasized that the priority must be paying reparations to victims of the violence. …