The mobilization against the violation of human rights in Peru continues
The Quebec-Peru Solidarity Collective continues to urge the government of Justin Trudeau to condemn the military repression of demonstrators and the human rights violations committed by the government of Dina Boluarte in Peru since its inauguration in early December, following the dismissal of President Pedro Castillo.
“Several countries have denounced the attacks against civilians and the violation of human rights, but Canada has not taken a position so far,” laments Lucia Flores Echaiz, spokesperson for the Collective in an interview with Métro .
“Right now, international pressure is playing a key role in putting an end to the violent acts of the Peruvian government against its people, especially members of indigenous communities,” adds the lawyer and candidate for a master's degree in law at UQÀM, originally from Lima.
Since December 8, multiple citizen mobilizations across the country have called for the resignation of Boluarte, the closure of Congress, new elections and a Plurinational Constituent Assembly.
Repression and impunity
Documented human rights violations to date include some 60 executions and more than 1,200 people injured, including among protesters outside the capital of countries, in indigenous communities.
Many people in Peru are in solidarity with the movement, but they are afraid to take part in the mobilizations for fear of being killed.
Lucia Flores Echaiz, spokesperson for the Collectif Solidarité Québec-Pérou
“We cannot tolerate having 60 dead and life going on normally,” said Rafael Verastegui, electrical engineer and member of the Metro Collective.
“What is happening in Peru affects me personally because there were 18 deaths in a single day near the city where I was born and raised. There was even a medical student who was there to help people injured during the demonstrations and he was shot dead by the police”, deplores the man from the city of Puno, saying he is worried for his family and his friends who live in the area.
Oppression of indigenous voice
Mr. Verastegui maintains that the information transmitted by the official Peruvian media does not reflect the reality of the situation in the country and denounces the under-representation and oppression of the voice of the indigenous peoples of the Andes.
We don't have a real democracy in Peru right now. Many alternative media try to show a different story than the official media, which is controlled by the government, but otherwise the people have no voice. To have a real democracy, everyone must be represented.
Rafael Verastegui, member of the Collectif Solidarité Québec-Pérou
Alonso Gamarra, doctoral student in anthropology at McGill University and member of the Collective, specifies that most of the demonstrations take place in Lima, given the repression and the violence against people from different rural areas of the country who want to claim their rights.
“They leave their region to avoid being executed with impunity, because they are easier prey in their village than in the capital of the country”, maintains Mr. Gamarra, originally from the city of Arequipa.
< p>“Indigenous peoples are currently victims of violence for wanting to claim their right to say what is happening on their territory and to demand a change in the constitutional system, which benefits from the investments of private corporations to the detriment of the well-being of the people”, continues Mr. Gamarra.
Solidarity with the Peruvian people
Since its creation in mid-January, with the objective of “denouncing the abuse of power, arbitrary detentions and the disproportionate use of force to disperse crowds”, the Collective has organized two demonstrations and one cultural event in Montreal in support of the Peruvian people.
A letter was also sent to Justin Trudeau and Mélanie Joly at the end of January, asking Canada “to reject any human rights violation committed by the Boluarte government in Peru and to add its voice to the calls of the international community to end to the violent repression of civilians exercising their right to demonstrate.”
Nearly 300 signatories have joined this petition to date. The Collective also wishes to launch an appeal to provincial deputies in the coming weeks.
“Although the federal government has more power in international relations, we would also like Quebec to be able to adopt a motion of solidarity with the Peruvian people to condemn the violation of human rights, just as it was done for Iranian women” , says Ms. Flores Echaiz.
The Collective is organizing a discussion and solidarity meeting with the Peruvian people this Saturday, February 25, from 3:30 p.m., at the premises of the Association of Greek Workers of Quebec, located at 5359, avenue du Parc.
“All people who are concerned about the violation of human rights are invited to participate in the discussion in order to fuel the common reflection on the role and future actions of the Collective”, says Ms. Flores Echaiz.
Music, dance and food will follow the discussion period, which will be held in Spanish, French and English, to promote the participation of people from all walks of life. The Collective particularly encourages people from the Aboriginal peoples of Quebec to join the event.
“Perhaps there are bridges to be built between the struggles of peoples from here and there- down. We want to start a common reflection on the situation in Peru and the actions that we can take from here to help the Peruvian people,” says Ms. Flores Echaiz.
This text has was produced as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.