Committee against Torture
14 November 2018
The Committee against Torture this afternoon concluded its consideration of the seventh periodic report of Peru on the efforts made by the State party to implement the provisions of the Convention against Torture.
Introducing the report, Daniel Sánchez Velásquez, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Access to Justice of Peru, reaffirmed the commitment of the Peruvian Government to continue combatting torture and violence, and to investigate and punish all such acts that had taken place in the past. In 2018, the authorities had adopted the National Plan for Human Rights 2018-2021, which defined a State policy vis-à-vis acts of torture through a multi-sectoral approach and through the establishment of a single register of cases of torture in 2019. The Peruvian law provided for aggravating circumstances when the act of torture affected groups requiring special attention or when it was committed by members of the armed forces or police.
The Deputy Minister said one of the greatest challenges faced by Peru was prison overcrowding, which was why the authorities had started working on the implementation of the Procedure for the Conversion of Sentences, which was part of the new National Penitentiary Policy of 2018. The authorities had also strengthened the provision of legal aid to victims of violence and of trafficking, and access to reparations for victims of sexual violence. Access to the payment of reparations to the victims of sexual violence during the 1980-2000 period had been strengthened in a number of different ways, and the authorities had identified 4,624 women victims of sexual violence. When it came to other victims of human rights violations during that period, 96 per cent of them had benefited from reparations.
In the ensuing discussion, Committee Experts noted that the definition of torture in Peru’s Criminal Code did not include any form of discrimination as the motivation for the offence. Furthermore, it did not include the sanction of disqualification of public officials, nor did it refer to the acts of torture committed by private companies. The Experts inquired about the funding, mandate and independence of the Office of the Ombudsperson and of the national prevention mechanism, prison overcrowding, long pre-trial detention, the use of torture in the armed forces as a means of punishment, examination of asylum requests, persistent cases of torture and arbitrary deprivation of life in police stations, the high rate of acquittals, and the lack of an independent register of cases of torture.
Violence perpetrated by the police against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons was another issue raised by Committee Experts, as well as the investigation of human rights violations committed between 1980 and 2000, enforced disappearances, indigenous women victims of forced sterilization, the adoption of the protocol to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders, the provision of free legal assistance to victims of torture, reparation and compensation ordered by courts for victims of torture and their families, exclusion of beneficiaries from reparation programmes, deaths in custody, alternative detention measures, violence against women, and the decriminalization of abortion in cases of incest or rape.
In concluding remarks, Mr. Sánchez Velásquez reiterated that the commitment of Peru to the promotion and protection of human rights was growing every year. The current administration had made efforts in that regard, and thanks to the technical assistance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Peru could look up to a bright future. Peru was a country that placed people at the heart of its development.
Jens Modvig, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its diligence and constructive replies.
The delegation of Peru consisted of representatives of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, the Supreme Court, the Nation’s Fiscal Authority, and the Permanent Mission of Peru to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will next meet in public on Thursday, 15 November, at 3 p.m. to finalize the consideration of the initial report of Viet Nam (CAT/C/VNM/1).
The seventh periodic report of Peru can be read here: CAT/C/PER/7.
Presentation of the Report
DANIEL SÁNCHEZ VELÁSQUEZ, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Access to Justice of Peru, reaffirmed the commitment of the Peruvian Government to continue combatting torture and violence, and to investigate and punish all such acts that had taken place in the past. In that sense, the Committee’s concluding observations issued in 2012 had helped the Government to come up with and implement concrete policies. In 2018, the authorities had adopted the National Plan for Human Rights 2018-2021, which defined a State policy vis-à-vis acts of torture through a multi-sectoral approach and through the establishment of a single register of cases of torture in 2019. The National Plan for Human Rights 2018-2021 gave particular attention to groups of persons that required special attention, such as persons deprived of liberty, women and persons with disabilities.
One of the greatest challenges faced by Peru was prison overcrowding, which was why the authorities had started working on the implementation of the Procedure for the Conversion of Sentences, which was part of the new National Penitentiary Policy of 2018. In addition, the authorities would implement the policy of “dignified incarceration” through the construction of two mega prisons which would be able to accommodate about 6,500 persons. The Ministry of Health would also implement a mechanism for visits to 12 penitentiary facilities in order to assess the conditions of inmates with tuberculosis. Another programme designed to improve the conditions for persons deprived of their liberty was “Productive Prisons” which aimed to promote the labour activities and social rehabilitation of inmates. The Deputy Minister further highlighted that in April 2018 the Human Rights Manual for the Police Force had entered into force.
The Deputy Minister underlined the campaign against violence against women and the macho culture, noting amendments to the Penal Code which had strengthened sanctions related to crimes against women, such as sexual abuse and harassment. The authorities had also strengthened the provision of legal aid to victims of violence and of trafficking, and access to reparations for victims of sexual violence. Access to the payment of reparations to the victims of sexual violence during the 1980-2000 period had been strengthened in a number of different ways, and the authorities had identified 4,624 women victims of sexual violence. When it came to other victims of human rights violations during that period, 96 per cent of them had benefited from reparations. The State was committed to find all disappeared persons from the 1980-2000 period and return their remains to their families. So far, it had identified the remains of 1,188 persons. On the issue of forced sterilization in the period between 1996 and 2000, the Deputy Minister informed the Committee that in September 2018 a working group had been established to improve the participation of victims in a comprehensive manner. The authorities had just opened legal proceedings against the persons accused of being responsible for the forced sterilization of more than 2,000 alleged victims.
The Deputy Minister also informed the Committee that a new legislative decree would amend provisions regarding the legal capacity of persons with disabilities on an equal footing with others and eliminated the need for a substitute to act for them in terms of voting, sale, purchase, marriage and other matters. The situation of persons with disabilities in the penitentiary system represented a challenge which was why the authorities would train 13 medical doctors to improve their conditions. Moving on to the contemporary forms of slavery, the Deputy Minister said that since 2017 the Government had adopted 15 plans of action to combat trafficking in persons in various parts of the country. The authorities maintained residential centres for victims of trafficking and had created the Labour Inspectors Group to ensure proper respect for human rights, including to combat child labour and forced labour. Peru had also signed agreements with Chile and Argentina for cooperation on trafficking in the region. The country had adopted measures to guarantee the enjoyment of fundamental human rights for refugees from Venezuela. Between 2012 and 2018, the Government had recognized refugee status for 1,323 persons from 49 countries, out of which 466 were from Venezuela.
As for the national prevention mechanism for torture, cruel and degrading treatment, it had issued its second report in June 2018 in which it underlined the commitment of the Peruvian State to eliminate torture. The current definition of torture was compatible with the definition in the Convention, the Deputy Minister said, adding that the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Torture provided that the act of torture could be defined in a broader sense than the United Nations Convention. The Peruvian law provided for aggravating circumstances when the act of torture affected groups requiring special attention or when it was committed by members of the armed forces or police. Peru was aware of the challenges it faced and it was committed to provide effective protection from torture and cruel or degrading treatment. Those commitments were part of the national policy.
Questions by the Country Rapporteur
CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Peru, speaking of the modified definition of torture in Peru’s Penal Code, noted that it did not include as the purpose of the offence any form of discrimination. Such omission required attention given the discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons. The current definition did not include the sanction of disqualification of public officials, nor did it refer to the acts of torture committed by private companies, such as the mining company Rio Blanco (Majaz) which had been accused of abducting and torturing 28 community leaders who had opposed the company’s mining operations.
The Country Co-Rapporteur further inquired about the funding, mandate and independence of the Office of the Ombudsperson and of the national preventive mechanism. There was no up-to-date information available. The urgent problem was the lack of logistical and other resources for the exercise of their mandate. It was of concern that the budget for the Office of the Ombudsperson was planned to be reduced by five per cent in 2019. In addition, the national preventive mechanism had only two contracted lawyers. The national preventive mechanism was centred in Lima and it had no presence at the national and regional level. The Ombudsperson was elected by the Parliament, but there was no Ombudsperson now due to political disagreements.
Mr. Heller Rouassant also underlined the problem of prison overcrowding, long pre-trial detention, the need for electronic tagging, the treatment of women, the vulnerability of foreigners, the violation of rights in psychiatric institutions, and poor conditions in the so-called “meditation areas” in police stations. The Country Co-Rapporteur also called attention to the use of torture in the armed forces as a means of punishment.
The drafting of the new national plan for human rights would include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, human rights defenders, and home workers. Would it cover the entire prison system?
Turning to trafficking in persons, Mr. Heller Rouassant asked about the application of the law on illicit trafficking of migrants. Since Latin American countries were facing a migratory crisis, was there a detailed examination of asylum requests? Did asylum seekers run the risk of torture if they were returned to the country of their origin? The new legislation adopted in Peru in August 2018 demanded that asylum seekers present their passports which they often did not have. What policies were followed by Peru on the current migratory crisis in the region? What was the status of the reform of the Penal Code in that sense?
There persisted cases of torture and arbitrary deprivation of life in police stations, the penitentiary system and in the armed forces detention units. Some judges and prosecutors had refused to open the investigation of cases of torture when it concerned higher ranking officers. Another concern was that they frequently based their investigations only on medical certificates, which documented minor injuries, and that they would not take into account the entire context. There was also a problem of the high rate of acquittals, and the lack of an independent register of cases of torture. Another worrying situation was the pressure put on victims and their families to dissuade them from filing complaints.
The staff of the national police and of the armed forces did not face criminal responsibility in the case of the excessive use of force, Mr. Heller Rouassant noted. In addition, civilian justice could not intervene in the cases of human rights violations perpetrated by members of the military against civilians. What was the status of the process against members of the military who had been accused of killing more than 100 persons in the prison El Frontón in 1986? There was a concern about the excessive use of torture by the police in relation to social protests.
Had the authorities registered the complaints of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons of the violence perpetrated against them in prisons? In the period between 2012 and 2016, 95 states of emergency had been declared, which was an alarming figure, Mr. Heller Rouassant emphasized. Why was there so much recourse to the state of emergency?
Turning to the investigation of the human rights violations committed between 1980 and 2000, Mr. Heller Rouassant reminded that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had estimated there were more than 70,000 victims during that period. Many of the atrocities had been committed by Sendero Luminoso and other rebel groups, but the majority of the crimes had been attributed to State agents (75 per cent).
Mr. Heller Rouassant stressed that notwithstanding the great number of cases of human rights violations, very few sentences had been handed down. In the period between 2012 and 2016, only 22 court proceedings of torture had been finalized. What was the plan for the implementation of the 2016 Law for the Search for Disappeared Persons during the period of the internal conflict?
On the issue of impunity, Mr. Heller Rouassant inquired about the sentences against three former military generals, members of the Colina group, and the pardon given to the former President of Peru, Albert Fujimori. There had been no sentences for the rape and sexual violence against women and girls perpetrated by State agents, and the recruitment of children during the armed conflict.
As for the indigenous women who were victims of forced sterilization during the period from 1994 to 2001, what was the basis for the re-opening of the case and what were the expectations? Had the protocol to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders been adopted? Mr. Heller Rouassant expressed concern about the wide-ranging definition of a “hostile group,” which could be interpreted to include social movements.
DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ-PINZÓN, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Peru, inquired about the imbalances in the provision of free legal assistance to victims of torture. Why did that imbalance exist and what was the number of beneficiaries of such legal assistance? In how many cases had defendants approached the examining judge to request legal protection? What was the situation of the draft regulation for the police force legislation?
The Country Co-Rapporteur called attention to the fact that domestic violence and femicide were frequently subject to prosecution, and he reminded that the State party did not provide disaggregated data on victims of gender-based violence. It was important to undertake proper assessment of the State’s measures to combat gender-based violence and sexual violence against women, girls and children.
What was the content and scope of the training provided to public servants, members of the police and the armed forces on human rights in various regions of the country? Since 2014 there had been a decrease in the number of individuals benefiting from such training. It was not clear whether training included the contents of the Convention against Torture. What was the status of updating the human rights manual for the police force? What were the mechanisms to assess the impact of training for public officials? Did the training programme for judges, prosecutors, forensic and medical professionals working in prisons contain the provisions of the Istanbul Protocol? Did such training refer to discrimination based on gender and ethnic origin?
Turning to the problem of prison overcrowding, Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón welcomed the statistical information provided by the State party, and asked about the measures aimed to resolve that problem. What measures had been taken to limit long pre-trial detention and to address the lack of specialized staff? There was no register of detainees that belonged to vulnerable groups, such as persons with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, and indigenous people.
Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón further inquired about alternative detention measures, such as electronic tagging and house arrest. What were the follow-up measures and results of the introduction of gender mainstreaming in the penitentiary system? Would the State party consider closing the prisons of Challapalca and Yanamayo? The Country Co-Rapporteur asked about the unhealthy conditions in prisons, arbitrary imposition of disciplinary measures, and invasive body searches of family members.
What was the follow-up to measures adopted to deal with the tuberculosis crisis in prisons? How was the health of prisoners assessed upon imprisonment? Were all infected prisoners kept isolated? With what frequency were qualified medical doctors able to check on prisoners’ health? What was the rate of deaths in prisons?
Moving on to the measures for reparation and compensation ordered by courts for victims of torture and their families, Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón pointed out to the reduction in the amount of reparations and delays in their payment. The State party should provide information about medical and psychological rehabilitation for the victims of the armed conflict. What measures should be taken to bring the current compensation programme in line with the Convention provisions?
In December 2016, the Single Register of Victims of Torture included 43,987 victims of torture who had benefited from multiple measures of reparation. The State party had not provided information about who could be excluded from receiving compensation, following the reform of the compensation programmes in 2011, Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón noted. Could the State party clarify that members of subversive groups and those tried for the crimes of terrorism were excluded from receiving compensation, even though they had been tortured during the conflict of 1980-2000? The Country Co-Rapporteur also asked about the psycho-social assistance to families of disappeared persons during the internal armed conflict.
Could the State party clarify whether the evidence obtained under duress was not used in court proceedings? What was the current status of the amendment to the Penal Code in that respect?
As for the protection of journalists and human rights defenders from threats, harassment and violence, what specific measures had been adopted in that respect? The Committee was also interested in the measures adopted to combat forced labour and child labour.
Finally, Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón inquired about the decriminalization of abortion in cases of incest or rape, and comprehensive care for women who had terminated their pregnancy, reminding that illegal abortions were one of the main causes of the high maternal mortality in the country.
Questions by the Committee Experts
An Expert asked about the new law to eradicate violence against women and children, and about the mechanisms to ensure its implementation. The Expert voiced concern that the law was based on conciliation and mediation rather than punishment and prosecution, which could lead to repetition. Furthermore, the budget was too low to properly implement the new law.
As opposed to the 9,000 complaints of gender-based violence presented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, alternative sources indicted 25,000 such denunciations. What was the reason for the discrepancy in those numbers?
Turning to the attacks against transgender persons, what kind of instructions did the police receive on how to treat transgender persons?
There were allegations that the Ministry of Defence did not help the families of the victims of human rights violations during the internal conflict to obtain relevant evidence, an Expert noted.
As for the high incarceration rate and prison overcrowding, another Expert pointed out that 47 per cent of inmates were first-time prisoners who were not separated from repeat offenders. What concrete measures had been taken to review the incarceration policy and to reduce the high incarceration rate? What were the plans to use non-custodian measures, including for juveniles?
The Experts further inquired about the harsh disciplinary measures that were often imposed in prisons arbitrarily, the impact of training on the reduction of torture and ill-treatment, and Peru’s intentions to improve its contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture.
Replies by the Delegation
Responding to the Experts’ questions about the forced sterilization of indigenous women, the delegation explained that the complaints concerning more than 2,000 women between 1995 and 2000 had been filed in 2002 as crimes against humanity and genocide, but had been found to be without grounds in 2009. In 2012 the investigation was opened again but by 2014 it had been closed. Yesterday, there had been a formalization of the complaints against senior officials, including a former President and a former Minister of Health, as well as medical doctors, and the case had now been put into the legal system.
The delegation explained that under article 321 of the Criminal Code, the definition of torture was in line with the provisions of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. The crime of torture incurred a prison sentence from eight to 14 years; 15 to 20 years in prison for more serious offences against specially protected groups (girls and boys, elderly persons, persons with disabilities, and persons deprived of liberty); and 20 to 25 years in prison if the victim had died. Judges could also extend the sentence up to 35 years of imprisonment. The principle of universal jurisdiction was provided for in the Criminal Code.
Turning to the national preventive mechanism, the delegation said it had an independent budget and that Congress had not yet decided about its budget for 2019.
Speaking of prison overcrowding, which stood at 129 per cent, the delegation explained that combatting crime and insecurity had led to the increase in the prison population. Accordingly, the National Penitentiary Institute and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights had passed legislative decrees to regulate the conversion of sentences and electronic tagging. The authorities had also decided to construct more prison units. The plan was to build 22,420 new detention units.
In terms of the separation of prisoners, men and women were separated in different prisons or different wings. The management of juvenile centres had identified a number of decisions in order to improve the situation of juvenile offenders, such as taking into account sexual orientation. As for the Experts’ concern about the influx of weapons, drugs and prohibited objects, the authorities were working on introducing advanced technological systems of control. In order to fight extortion among prisoners, the authorities had transferred some inmates for reasons of security.
Specific measures to adopt alternatives to detention included the identification of potential beneficiaries, training of penitentiary personnel in electronic tagging, and the elaboration of strategies so that a greater number of inmates could access those alternative measures. In 2018, 805 demands for alternatives to detention had been granted. The registry of the prison population contained 89,794 persons in October 2018, out of which 84,750 were men and 5,044 were women. There were 727 prisoners belonging to indigenous communities. The number of children below the age of three accommodated in prisons was 181.
The prison of Yanamayo at the city of Puno was a regular prison and it was not overcrowded. The closure of that prison would uproot more than 700 prisoners and it would take them away from their families and thus prevent prisoners’ social rehabilitation.
In 2017, there were 2,413 prisoners affected by tuberculosis, most of them in prisons in Lima (79.8 per cent). All such inmates were treated free of charge and they were separated from other prisoners. Non-prison measures for adolescents in conflict with the law included assisted release, community services, and restricted release.
Speaking about the excessive use of states of emergency, the delegation clarified that it was justified by social upheavals or disturbances. Certain fundamental freedoms could be curtailed during states of emergency. There were currently two states of emergency in force because of social disturbances in the Vial Apurimac – Cusco – Arequipa corridor, and in the provinces of Tayacaja, Churcampa, Convención, Satipo, Concepción and Huancayo due to the risk of terrorism and the trafficking of narcotics. States of emergency could be extended for a maximum period of 60 days. The concept of “hostile group” did not encompass trade unions and other social movements. In the opinion of the Constitutional Court, demonstrations and other forms of public protests against State policies should not be considered as hostile.
Unlawful behaviour of members of the armed forces came under the jurisdiction of military courts. However, military criminal jurisdiction could only be applied to strictly military affairs. The delegation informed the Committee about concrete criminal proceedings against members of the military. Concerning the case of former President Alberto Fujimori, the authorities had checked his granted pardon against constitutional provisions, and they had found that it was unconstitutional.
Whilst the Forensic Medicine Institute did not have a large number of medical doctors to implement the Convention, it did not mean that it did not document violations in line with the Istanbul Protocol. In 2016, there had been two convictions for torture, in 2017 there had been a further two sentences, and there had been no convictions in 2018. The reason for that low number included the new Penal Code and confusion about the type of offence.
Speaking of the National Human Rights Plan 2018-2021, the delegation underlined that the Sustainable Development Goals were closely intertwined with human rights. In the preparation of the plan, the authorities had taken into consideration disability, culture, age, gender, and territorial differences. The targets of the plan included having a comprehensive national protection mechanism for human rights defenders by 2021, as well as a plan for the prevention of torture and the rehabilitation of victims of torture.
DANIEL SÁNCHEZ VELÁSQUEZ, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Access to Justice of Peru, speaking of reparations for the victims of the internal conflict of 1980–2000, explained that the Single Register of Victims provided information about the number of persons who had suffered from torture during that period. According to the register, there were 35,383 victims of torture, out of which 1,261 were also victims of sexual violence.
Those who had been excluded from the right to receive compensation were members of terrorist organizations and persons on trial for terrorism. The Government had not identified any irregularities in connection to collective reparations. But the authorities did recognize that they had encountered difficulties in providing relevant funds. The Single Register of Victims contained information about 5,712 indigenous communities, and the goal was to reach 80 per cent registration by 2021.
As for the persons disappeared during the internal conflict in 1980-2000, at least 20,329 persons had been identified, out of which the remains of only 1,159 (less than six per cent) had been returned to their families, the Deputy Minister informed.
CLAUDIO DE LA PUENTE, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations Office at Geneva, reminded that Peru had received the second largest number of refugees from Venezuela (more than 550,000). It was predicted that the number would reach 1.3 million by the end of 2019. More than 130,000 Venezuelans had received temporary residence permits, whereas it was estimated that some 200,000 were currently going through the application procedure. No vulnerable Venezuelans had been denied entry to Peru. The measures adopted by the Government had allowed thousands of Venezuelans to remain in the country as regular migrants and to access healthcare and education. The problem exceeded the capacity of a single country and it required a concerted international effort, the Ambassador noted.
The delegation pointed out that violence against women was a serious structural problem in Peru. In 2017, the judiciary had received 217,148 complaints of domestic violence, out of which 191,820 had remained without a sentence. The State had been undertaking a number of strategies to prevent violence against women, with emphasis on high-risk cases. The Government had earmarked significant funds to combat violence against women (more than 59 million soles).
There were 59 specialized prosecutors to deal with cases of violence against women. The judiciary had pushed for diverse initiatives in order to incorporate a gender perspective, such as the recent creation of district commissions. The national police periodically received training so that its personnel understood that gender-based violence was neither justified nor acceptable, whereas the Ministry of Education had launched a campaign “I know how to take care of my body” with the aim to raise the awareness of children and adolescents about the importance of identifying possible acts of sexual violence.
Follow-up Questions by the Country Rapporteurs
CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Peru, appreciated the delegation’s constructive spirit. Referring to the definition of torture in Peru’s Criminal Code, he reiterated that it did not contain any reference to grounds for discrimination. Mr. Heller Rouassant called the delegation’s attention to the Committee’s General Comment No. 2, which did not leave room for the interpretation of article 2 of the Convention.
The Office of the Ombudsperson should have an independent budget, but there should also be another budget for the national mechanism for the prevention of torture. The mechanism should be able to visit all detention centres, including the military ones. It was absolutely vital to have independent regional offices to cover all of the country’s territory.
What were “meditation areas” in police stations? Mr. Heller Rouassant reiterated his concern about the abuses occurring under states of emergency, in particular when they had been declared because of social upheaval, or because of traces of terrorism linked with drug trafficking.
Mr. Heller Rouassant suggested that the State party consider adopting a law to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.
DIEGO RODRÍGUEZ-PINZÓN, Committee Expert and Country Co-Rapporteur for Peru, asked about the timeframe for the improvements of the penitentiary system. What was the altitude of the two new mega prisons at Arequipa and Ica? What specific measures did the State party plan to introduce to limit custodial sentences for mothers?
Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón asked why the State party could not close the prison of Challapalca, which accommodated high-security prisoners. Could the delegation provide the Committee with the care protocols for attending to inmates with tuberculosis?
The Country Co-Rapporteur asked what mechanisms were in place for judges to ensure the implementation of the anti-torture protocol. Turning to compensation, he pointed out to the lack of access to people belonging to subversive groups, which was of concern for the Committee. Had the State party increased resources for the public defenders’ system?
Mr. Rodríguez-Pinzón also drew attention to the use of electroconvulsive therapy to calm patients, which could lead to multiple injuries.
Questions by the Committee Experts
An Expert asked the delegation to clarify the exact figure of reduction in the prison population, as well as the legal difficulties in separating remand from convicted prisoners. There was a very low number of electronic tags.
Another Expert reiterated her question about the appropriateness of the emphasis on conciliation and mediation rather than punishment and prosecution by judges when dealing with violence against women. Given the dramatic increase in the number of incidents and complaints of violence against women, the number of prosecuted cases was too low. Was there a problem of the implementation of the new law, or a problem of reporting?
Were healthcare providers still required to report women who sought post-abortion care? How many health professionals and women had been sanctioned if that was the case?
One Expert asked about special detention regimes and disciplinary measures (disciplinary cells) imposed in arbitrary fashion and not in line with regulatory procedures, which could amount to inhumane and degrading treatment. What measures had the State party taken to implement the recommendations of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture?
To what extent could the use of states of emergency be limited as far as possible? The Experts also inquired about the recognition of the competence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Replies by the Delegation
The delegation informed that the Ministry of Defense provided training on the Convention against Torture in order to curb the excessive use of force in armed operations. Since 2006, the Government had organized a course on the use of force in armed conflict. Between 2016 and 2018, the Government had provided human rights training to some 400 members of the armed forces, the national police and the public administration.
The recently adopted human rights manual for police officers established a range of provisions to strengthen sectoral policies on human rights. The manual contained special sections on vulnerable groups, such as women, children, indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, sex workers, internally displaced persons, and migrants.
The delegation stressed that during criminal investigations of cases of violence against women it was forbidden to bring perpetrators face to face with victims. Public servants had received training on domestic violence, gender-based violence, trafficking in persons, and the rights of indigenous peoples.
DANIEL SÁNCHEZ VELÁSQUEZ, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Access to Justice of Peru, clarified that experts would identify elements for the definition of torture. Peru respected all of its international obligations and it would continue supporting the United Nations Voluntary Fund for the Victims of Torture.
The Deputy Minister explained that “meditation areas” in police stations were closed to the public until the detainee was brought before a judge. Peru used states of emergency at times of crisis; it was not something that was part of daily life. They affected certain parts of the country to ensure public security and they were justified. Constitutional rights (the Amparo) were never suspended.
The Deputy Minister underscored that violence against women was a great concern for the Government, which was determined to combat all forms of violence against women. Any effective public policy needed to have legal rules to improve care for victims, appropriate budgetary resources, and trained staff.
The mega prison at Ica would be built at 5,000 meters of altitude and the mega prison at Arequipa at 4,000 meters of altitude. The measures to improve prison conditions should be concluded by 2021.
Returning to the issue of compensation for victims of violence during the 1980-2000 conflict, the Deputy Minister stressed that the authorities aimed to restore the dignity of victims. He added that the authorities hoped to adopt the first draft of the protocol for the comprehensive protection of human rights defenders by the end of 2018.
DANIEL SÁNCHEZ VELÁSQUEZ, Deputy Minister of Human Rights and Access to Justice of Peru, thanked the Committee Experts for the questions and comments. He reiterated that the commitment of Peru to the promotion and protection of human rights was growing every year. The current administration had made efforts in that regard, and thanks to the technical assistance of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Peru could look up to a bright future. Peru always implemented decisions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and recommendations of the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, and it would continue providing assistance to victims of torture. Peru was a country that placed people at the heart of its development.
JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for its diligence and constructive replies.
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