Top UN rights official ends visit to Peru with call for consolidation
“It has been heartening to see the bold steps Peru has taken to emerge from a dark period of its history,” said Mary Robinson, lauding the country for setting up its Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for advancing efforts to do away with unjust laws and practices. “Peru has also continued to accept international human rights treaty obligations and extended an open invitation to the investigators of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights,” she noted.At the same time, the High Commissioner pointed out that a number of concerns remained. Among those she cited overly broad and repressive anti-terrorism legislation left over from the previous regime, the considerable number of people still unjustly imprisoned, allegations of torture and abuse of power by police and military officials, discrimination against indigenous people, women and Afro-Peruvians, and deficiencies in the administration of justice.Mrs. Robinson also called attention to the poor realization of economic, social and cultural rights in Peru, due in large part to the gap between rich and poor there.”Vigilance and continued resolve are needed at this critical moment,” she said, calling on the authorities to consider drawing up a national plan of action on human rights and pledging her support for this endeavour. When she arrived in the country on Wednesday, the High Commissioner signed an agreement with the Government aimed at broadening cooperation on human rights.”This agreement means commitments from my Office and from Peru,” said the High Commissioner, who met during her visit with a number of senior officials, including President Alejandro Toledo, as well as members of the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).