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Title:  Peru Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                                 PERU 
 
 
Peru is a multiparty republic with a dominant executive branch headed by 
President Alberto Fujimori.  Fujimori was reelected to a second 5-year 
term in free and fair elections on April 9 under provisions of a new 
Constitution enacted in 1993.  The President's party also won control of 
the new Congress and holds 67 of its 120 seats. 
 
The police and military share security duties.  Since 1980 much of their 
effort has been directed against Sendero Luminoso and other terrorist 
groups.  These groups have now declined as a major internal threat, and 
terrorist attacks took place with less frequency than in previous years.  
Although members of the security forces committed human rights abuses, 
levels were lower than in previous years.  The Sendero Luminoso and 
other terrorists were responsible for numerous killings. 
 
Peru's economy is rapidly changing its emphasis from heavy regulation to 
an extreme market orientation.  Government controls on capital flows, 
prices, and trade have been eliminated.  The Government has privatized 
most state enterprises, and those remaining are scheduled to be sold by 
the end of 1996.  The current gross domestic product is estimated at 
$32.5 billion.  Major exports include minerals (principally copper), 
fishmeal, and textiles.  Illegal exports of processed coca are thought 
to have earned about $600-$800 million in past years.  As in 1994, Peru 
was projected to report a favorable balance of payments in 1995 due to 
continued large capital inflows of direct and portfolio investments 
despite the growing trade deficit.  Unemployment is around 9 percent, 
but more than half of the economically active population work in the 
informal sector of the economy, which largely operates beyond government 
supervision and taxation.  The percentage of the population officially 
defined as poor declined from over 50 percent to about 45 percent.  
Roughly half of the poor live in extreme poverty. 
 
As government counterinsurgency policies became increasingly effective 
and the threat from Sendero Luminoso declined, the human rights 
situation continued to improve.  There was a marked decrease in the 
number of extrajudicial killings and disappearances attributable to the 
security forces.  Despite this improvement, lack of accountability and 
due process, prolonged detention, trial delays, and torture remained 
problems; emergency zone status--which provides for the suspension of 
certain constitutional guarantees in areas of high terrorist activity--
remained in effect in Lima and several other provinces, affecting 44 
percent of Peru's 23.5 million people.  Congressional passage of the 
Amnesty Law on June 14 absolved those in the security forces who 
committed human rights abuses while combating terrorism from May 1980 to 
June 1995.  The summary manner in which this and other laws were passed, 
without full notice and debate in the country's unicameral Parliament, 
revived concerns about an authoritarian approach to governance.  In 
October a Supreme Court tribunal upheld the constitutionality of the 
Amnesty Law in the 1991 Barrios Altos massacre case. 
 
The Government continued to detain up to 600 persons on terrorism 
charges based on unsubstantiated accusations by terrorists who repented 
before November 1, 1994; many of these detainees have already been held 
for years with their cases unresolved.  Nongovernmental human rights 
organizations represent approximately 700 individuals believed to have 
been wrongfully charged with terrorism and treason.  Civilian terrorism 
trials by "faceless" judges were due to end on October 15, but Congress 
passed new legislation in early October extending their use for 1 more 
year.  The Government continued efforts to improve prison conditions, 
but these remain inadequate.  The Congress passed a law in July defining 
the duties of the constitutionally mandated "Defender of the People" (a 
human rights ombudsman).  However, it has not yet named someone to the 
position.  Violence against women and children and discrimination 
against minorities and the disabled are problems. 
 
Sendero Luminoso and members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement 
(MRTA) were responsible for 232 killings, including 7 deaths from car 
bomb attacks. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killings 
 
Since 1980 Peru has suffered a bloody guerrilla war waged by the 
terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary 
Movement (MRTA).  Sendero activity decreased dramatically in 1995 and 
security forces continue to arrest the remaining Sendero terrorists. 
 
Statistics compiled by the National Coordinating Committee for Human 
Rights (Coordinadora), an umbrella group of forty nongovernmental human 
rights organizations, showed that the security forces were responsible 
for one extrajudicial killing.  This figure is much smaller than the 39 
killings reported for 1994 and substantially smaller than the number of 
killings which took place at the height of the insurgency in 1992, when 
the Coordinadora estimated that the security forces were responsible for 
114 extrajudicial killings. 
 
Joel Huaman Garcia, age 19, was detained by police in Cerro de Pasco on 
May 26 and died in custody the following day.  An autopsy showed that 
Huaman had died from torture and beatings.   
 
Police officers Edson Condor Arredondo, Rolando Huere Ore, and Wilson 
Torralva Davila face criminal charges for Huaman's killing.  In Ucayali 
department, in the only death the Coordinadora considered extrajudicial 
(others were due to torture and beatings), 16-year-old Indalecio 
Pomatanta Albarcan died on April 6 as a result of burns after naval 
personnel tried to arrest him at home on April 2.  Navy personnel 
acknowledged abandoning Pomatanta after the burning incident.  They 
claimed that Pomatanta as well as one of their own men suffered burns 
after accidentally being drenched by fuel near an open fire.  A group of 
soldiers beat to death 21-year-old Wilder Alex Osorio in May in Pasco 
department.  In September Jose Eugenio Chamaya Rumacharis died in police 
custody after they subjected him to water torture in a Lima police 
station.  The Public Ministry is investigating the actions of two police 
officers in the Chamaya case. 
 
The passage of the Amnesty Law on June 14 created considerable concern 
over military and police impunity for past abuses.  This law, which 
granted amnesty from prosecution to those who committed human rights 
abuses during the war on terrorism from May 1980 to June 1995, as well 
as to those who participated in the November 1992 coup attempt, was 
presented and passed by the Congress in one night with no time provided 
for national debate.  The law also cleared the records of security force 
personnel who had already been convicted of human rights abuses, 
including the eight military perpetrators of the 1992 La Cantuta 
massacre, who were sentenced in 1994 but released by military 
authorities a few days after the Amnesty Law's passage.  In addition, 10 
police officers were granted amnesty on June 16 for their role in the 
1986 Lurigancho prison massacre, in which some 200 prisoners died.  
Relatives of the La Cantuta massacre victims announced in late October 
that the military had agreed to pay them over 1 million dollars as an 
indemnity in accordance with a decree issued by the military court which 
sentenced the perpetrators of the massacre. 
 
First-instance Judge Antonia Saquicuray ruled on June 16 that the 
Amnesty Law did not apply to the 1991 Barrios Altos massacre case, in 
which military personnel killed 15 people including an 8-year-old child.  
She also disallowed an effort by lawyers for the accused to have a 
civilian investigation of the case dropped.  After a superior court 
overturned her ruling, relatives of the massacre victims appealed the 
superior court decision to the Supreme Court, which in a divided 
decision in October upheld the constitutionality of the Amnesty Law.  In 
response to Saquicuray's ruling, the Congress passed a controversial law 
on June 28 which stated that the judiciary had no right to review the 
constitutionality of the Amnesty Law. 
 
In two cases a civilian superior court denied requests by military and 
police officers for amnesty, ruling that their crimes were not committed 
in the course of antiterrorist activities.  On August 14, a superior 
court in Puno decided that the Amnesty Law did not apply to four 
military officers convicted in civilian courts of the assault and armed 
robbery of civilians near Juli and Ayaviri in December 1992.  In 
September a superior court in Callao ruled that the Amnesty Law did not 
apply to the five police officers charged in the 1991 killings of 
university student Carlos Rodriguez Pighi and brothers Emilio and Rafael 
Gomez Paquillauri.  Three of the police officers were sentenced to 15 to 
18 years in 1994; the other two were never arrested and are believed to 
have fled the country. 
 
The Congress never concluded its investigation of the extrajudicial 
killings which occurred in 1994 in Huanuco as a result of the army's 
"Operation Aries."  The Public Ministry's investigation into these 
killings was effectively closed when Congress passed the Amnesty Law. 
 
In February then Justice Minister Fernando Vega stated to the United 
Nations Human Rights Commission that during the previous 7 years, 108 
officers and 453 noncommissioned officers had been punished for 
committing human rights abuses.  Of these, Vega said that 28 officers 
and 151 noncommissioned officers were given prison sentences. 
 
In the few areas of Peru where it continues to operate, Sendero Luminoso 
continues to assassinate civilians who oppose it. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
The Coordinadora is investigating whether 4 more disappearances occured 
in Huanuco department, in addition to the 10 cases of disappearance it 
recorded during the year.  Either number represents a vast improvement 
over the mid- and late-1980's and early 1990's, at the height of the 
Sendero Luminoso insurgency, when the military and police caused 
hundreds of persons to disappear.  The use since 1992 of military courts 
to try those accused of terrorism has resulted in a high conviction rate 
and has contributed to a significant decrease in disappearances and 
extrajudicial killings.  Of the nine disappearance cases, seven occurred 
in Ucayali department and two in Lima department, both emergency zones 
where the insurgents have been most active.  In addition, a few 
disappearances from previous years came to light in 1995. 
 
The seven disappearances in Ucayali department involved persons detained 
by naval personnel in front of witnesses.  For example, Marcial 
Hernandez Melgarejo was detained together with Wilder Ahuanari Canayo on 
February 13 in Caserio Raya Rio Aguaytia.  While Ahuanari was later 
released, Hernandez has not been seen or heard from since his detention.  
Despite the credibility of these disappearance reports, navy authorities 
in Ucayali assert that they know of no instance during 1995 in which 
navy personnel have been responsible in any manner for the disappearance 
of any citizen. 
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
Although the Constitution prohibits torture and inhuman or humiliating 
treatment, torture and brutal treatment of detainees are common.  
Eyewitnesses and human rights monitors reported that government security 
forces still routinely tortured suspected subversives at military and 
police detention centers. 
 
Torture most often takes place in the period immediately following 
detention.  The law permits police to hold terrorism suspects 
incommunicado for 15 days, and for another 15-day period in cases of 
treason.  Human rights groups report that the incidence of torture is 
high during this time, partly because detainees are not allowed access 
to family or an attorney except when giving sworn statements to the 
public prosecutor. 
 
Besides beatings, common methods of torture included electric shock, 
water torture, asphyxiation, and the hanging of detainees by a rope 
attached to their hands tied behind the back.  Common forms of 
psychological torture included sleep deprivation and death threats 
against both detainees and their families.  Interrogators frequently 
blindfold their victims during torture to prevent them from later 
identifying their abusers. 
 
Credible sources reported that torture by security forces in emergency 
zones is still common.  In Ucayali department, Tomas Flores Huanio was 
allegedly beaten and tortured for several days after being detained on 
April 19 for possession of cocaine base at the naval base in Contamana, 
before being taken to a hospital on April 23.  The following day Flores 
was taken to a civilian jail despite still suffering from injuries 
related to torture.  Navy personnel assert, however, that Flores was not 
tortured, but had injured himself by banging his head on an object in 
his detention cell. 
 
Reports of police and military rape of female detainees occurred, and 
cases from previous years continued to come to light.  While the number 
of those raped by security personnel during the past year is difficult 
to determine, credible reports indicate the total number of female 
detainees raped during the past few years to be in the hundreds.  
According to CEAPAZ, a nongovernmental human rights organization, in one 
1993 prison rape in La Merced, a pregnant 15-year-old detainee, who had 
unwittingly married an MRTA terrorist, was infected with AIDS by a 
member of the security forces.  Despite the April antiterrorism 
legislation which required that an adolescent be transferred to a 
juvenile detention facility, the victim remained detained as an adult 
terrorist in Huamancacca prison in Huancayo department until her release 
in September.  She received no medical attention for her AIDS condition 
while she was in prison, and those responsible for her rape have not 
been punished.  After being absolved of terrorism charges and released 
in October from Picsi prison in Chiclayo, environmentalist Maria Elena 
Faronda claimed that two female detainees in Picsi prison had been raped 
by security force personnel during the past year. 
 
Many victims of Sendero Luminoso terrorism also showed signs of torture.  
Credible accounts indicate that Sendero tortured people to death by 
slitting throats, strangulation, stoning, and burning.  Mutilation of 
the body was common. 
 
Conditions for many prisoners continued to be inadequate, even though 
the Government continues to make a costly and extensive effort to 
improve existing penal facilities, construct new penitentiaries, and 
ameliorate the physical conditions of detention.  The renovation of 
Castro Castro Prison in Lima and Yanamayo Prison in Puno department in 
1994 helped alleviate severe overcrowding in the prison system and 
improved the physical conditions in which many inmates lived.  
Nonetheless, prisoners in many facilities continued to experience 
unsanitary conditions, poor nutrition and health care, and occasionally 
harsh treatment by both prison staff and fellow inmates.  Picsi prison 
near Chiclayo, for example, holds twice the number of inmates for which 
it was designed and still has no running water.  Illegal drugs are in 
abundance, and tuberculosis and AIDS are reportedly at near-epidemic 
proportions in Lima's Lurigancho prison, the country's largest, 
containing just over 24 percent of the male prison population.  The 
police chief at Lurigancho prison announced publicly in December that 
there were 7 prisoners with AIDS and 37 with tuberculosis receiving 
daily medical attention.  He admitted that some of the prisoners had 
contracted their illness while in prison.  Detainees held temporarily in 
windowless cells in Lima's Palace of Justice are not allowed outside for 
exercise and fresh air and are taken to the bathroom only once a day.  
Basic food, health care, and basic bedding are often not provided by the 
prison authorities. 
 
Corruption continued to be a problem among prison staff, who were 
implicated in offenses such as sexual blackmail, selling narcotics and 
weapons, and arranging escapes.  Twenty-six employees of the National 
Penitentiary Institute (INPE) were fired in October because they helped 
three criminals escape from Callao Prison on September 6.  In addition, 
four INPE employees were dismissed in October for using undue violence 
against a group of journalists who were covering the aftermath of the 
September 6 prison escape.  Prisoners often have to bribe guards to get 
a mattress and report that guards subject inmates to beatings, torture, 
and degrading treatment.  In some prisons mothers who are detained for 
terrorism, many of them later found innocent by the courts after years 
of detention, are allowed to see their children and new-born infants 
only once every 3 months for only half an hour. 
 
The authorities continued to permit International Committee of the Red 
Cross (ICRC) representatives to visit detainees in any place of 
detention, including prisons, jails, police stations, and military 
bases.  The Government provided the ICRC with regular access to 
Ecuadorian soldiers detained by the Peruvian military during and after 
the January-February border conflict, and the ICRC facilitated prisoner 
transfers between Peru and Ecuador in March, June, and August. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
The Constitution, Criminal Code, and antiterrorist legislation delineate 
the arrest and detention process.  However, a number of constitutional 
protections are suspended in emergency zones.  For example, security 
forces do not need an arrest warrant; they may legally hold 
incommunicado those detained for treason or terrorism and deny them 
access to an attorney during the interrogation period, except when 
giving formal statements. 
 
In areas not subject to a state of emergency, the law requires a 
judicial warrant for arrest, unless a perpetrator is caught in the act.  
In addition, the Organic Law of the National Police is contrary to the 
Constitution.  It permits detention of an individual for any 
investigation.  Authorities must arraign persons arrested within 24 
hours (a law they frequently violate according to informed observers), 
except in cases of terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, for which 
the limit is 15 to 30 days.  If the military is the detaining authority, 
it must turn over detainees to the civilian police within 24 hours (or 
as soon as practicable in remote areas).  The military regularly 
disregarded this law. 
 
The Public Ministry continued to inaugurate branch offices of the 
National Registry of Detainees throughout Peru.  The registry, first 
opened in February 1994, records the names of those detained for 
terrorism and treason by the police and military (in emergency zones).  
However, relatives and human rights groups frequently complain that 
registry information is incomplete and that the police and the military 
have not been providing information to the registry in a timely manner. 
 
A 1993 modification to antiterrorism legislation authorized first-
instance and superior court judges to order the unconditional release of 
terrorism defendants if there is insufficient evidence to bring a case 
against them.  However, in practice, judges have rarely applied this 
law; rather, persons accused of terrorism sometimes must wait until 
their cases have been reviewed and dismissed by the Supreme Court before 
they are freed, a process that often lasts more than a year.  Another 
1993 modification to the antiterrorist laws restored a detainee's right 
to a prompt judicial determination of the legality of the detention 
("habeas corpus").  In practice, however, this has proven to be 
ineffective.  According to human rights attorneys, judges have denied 
most requests for such hearings. 
 
New problems emerged in cases where those who were declared innocent of 
terrorism several years earlier were ordered rearrested due to problems 
with the judicial case record.  This usually occurred when a case file 
included several individuals.  For example, nine persons, including six 
University of San Marcos law students, were acquitted of terrorism in 
1993, and two others in the same file, graphic editor Pedro Valdez 
Bernales and law student Filomeno Encarnacion Nieto, were found guilty 
and sentenced to 20 years in prison.  When the Supreme Court reviewed 
the case in late 1994, mistakes were found in the case record and the 
case was sent back to the superior court.  As a result, arrest warrants 
were issued for all the individuals in the case file, including those 
found not guilty 2 years earlier.  Carlos Isla, the only one still in 
Peru, was rearrested on May 14.  The others had fled the country.  On 
June 2, the superior court found all of those in the case file who were 
alive not guilty, including Pedro Valdez, who had served 3 years in 
prison.  Filomeno Encarnacion had died on April 24 from tuberculosis, 
which he had contracted in prison; he was also suffering from AIDS.  In 
its June 2 decision, the Court ruled that since Encarnacion was not 
present it would reserve judgment until it had proof of his death. 
 
According to INPE statistics, as of June, 76 percent of the country's 
prison population--almost 16,000 of the almost 21,000 prisoners--
consisted of accused persons awaiting trial.  The average delay between 
arrest and trial in civilian cases as well as on criminal or terrorism 
charges was between 26 and 36 months.  However, those tried on treason 
charges by military courts generally wait no longer than 40 days between 
the time of detention and the beginning of the trial. 
 
The Constitution does not permit exile, and the Government did not 
practice involuntary exile of its citizens.  General Rodolfo Robles, who 
had been in voluntary exile in Argentina, returned to Peru in June after 
the passage of the Amnesty Law which, in addition to granting amnesty to 
human rights abusers, also forgave military officers for antigovernment 
activities.  Others, such as former President Alan Garcia, apparently 
fled from what appeared to be legitimate criminal charges. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
Throughout Peruvian history, the judicial branch rarely has been fully 
independent of the executive.  However, the 1993 Constitution contains a 
number of provisions, including an improved system for naming judges, 
that provides for a significantly more independent judiciary.  By 
December 1994, a judicial honor tribunal had completed its review of the 
Lima judiciary and prosecutors, having dismissed a large number of 
provisional judges and prosecutors who were deemed unqualified. 
 
The 1993 Constitution also provided for several new judicial 
institutions to help create a more effective and independent system of 
justice:  an Office of the Defender of the People (a human rights 
ombudsman); a Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees (which would rule on 
the constitutionality of legislation and government actions); the 
National Judiciary Council (a permanent, independent entity in charge of 
testing, naming, confirming, and periodically evaluating and 
disciplining the country's judges and prosecutors); and a Judicial 
Academy (to train judges and prosecutors). 
 
While the Congress did finally pass a law defining the duties of the 
Defender of the People in early May, it was withdrawn due to objections 
by some congressmen and President Fujimori that it gave the Defender too 
much potential authority to investigate the military.  On July 13 the 
Congress passed a revised law which eliminated mention of the armed 
forces and laid out a procedure for confidential security-related 
material to be passed to the Defender only if approved by the Ministers 
of Defense or Interior, or by the Foreign Minister.  Although President 
Fujimori signed this law, the Congress did not approve with the required 
two-thirds vote either of the two candidates for Defender submitted to 
it in mid-December. 
 
Efforts to name the members of the Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees 
stalled because members of the outgoing Congressional Constitutional 
Committee could not agree on its candidates.  The new Congress has not 
yet decided on these nominations either; instead, it has created a 
commission and charged it with naming both the members of the Tribunal 
of Constitutional Guarantees and the Defender. 
 
In office since January, the National Judiciary Council is an autonomous 
body made up of seven members elected by such institutions as the 
Supreme Court judges, the Supreme Court prosecutors, the country's bar 
associations, and deans of public and private law schools.  The Council 
appointed two highly respected new Supreme Court prosecutors in 
September, and began work on evaluating candidates to fill some 1,500 
judicial vacancies around the country currently held by provisional 
officers. 
 
The Peruvian system of justice is generally based on the Napoleonic 
Code.  Judicial proceedings comprise three stages.   
 
The first is before an examining judge; the second is conducted by a 
superior court which tries and sentences the defendant; and the third is 
before an appeals court.  A Public Ministry prosecutor investigates 
arrests and criminal complaints and then submits an opinion to a first-
instance judge, who decides whether to indict.  Following study of the 
case, the judge renders a verdict, which is then reviewed by a superior 
court prosecutor.  The superior court prosecutor then submits an 
advisory opinion to a superior court judge, who holds a trial.  
Virtually all civilian court convictions are appealed to the Supreme 
Court. 
 
Defendants have the right to be present at their trial, although there 
were instances of trials in absentia of fugitives (however, a 1993 
modification to antiterrorism laws eliminated convictions in absentia).  
Although there were trials in absentia, they did not lead to 
convictions, but to acquittals or judgments held in reserve until the 
defendant was in custody.  Defendants have the right to counsel, but the 
Government often does not provide indigents with qualified attorneys. 
 
Proceedings in military courts which hear terrorism and treason cases do 
not meet internationally accepted standards for due process.  Military 
trials are closed to the public and are carried out in secrecy.  Defense 
attorneys do not have access to evidence, nor can they interview police 
or military witnesses (to protect their identities) prior to or during 
the trial.  Many military judges are active duty line officers with no 
legal background.  Military tribunals in theory must pass judgment 
within 10 days.  A case may be appealed to the War Council, which has 10 
days to make a decision.  A final appeal to the Supreme Council of 
Military Justice must be acted on within 5 days.  However, this calendar 
is subject to delays.  Human rights groups charge that military judges 
have sentenced some defendants before their lawyers were even notified 
that the trial had begun. 
 
According to Supreme Council of Military Justice statistics, between 
1992 and August 1995, faceless military tribunals tried 1,031 cases of 
treason.  In those cases in which a verdict was reached, these tribunals 
sentenced 267 individuals to life sentences, 217 persons to 30 years or 
less, 179 cases were sent to civilian court terrorism trials, and 24 
persons were absolved of all charges.  In a public statement on August 
11, President of the Supreme Council of Military Justice Guido Guevara 
Guerra stated that the military justice system was willing to review any 
case of a conviction for treason in which procedural errors could be 
proved. 
 
The Government did not abolish trials of terrorism cases on October 15 
by anonymous superior court tribunals, as it had originally announced.  
Human rights groups are concerned about cases sent by the military 
justice system to the civilian courts even when there is no evidence to 
prove the defendant guilty of treason or terrorism, since a terrorism 
trial must begin all over again.  For example, Jesus Chacaltana, a 
medical doctor detained in January, was found innocent of treason by a 
faceless military tribunal in April.  The Supreme Council of Military 
Justice, however, ruled in September that he must still be tried for 
terrorism by a civilian court even though there was no evidence 
connecting him to terrorist organizations. 
 
In December the Congress passed the Criminal Procedures Code 
legislation.  This legislation will institute new accusatorial, 
investigative, and trial procedures.  Informed observers claimed that 
the Government postponed passage of the new Code because the National 
Police oppose provisions that would grant more investigative authority 
to prosecutors; because the armed forces oppose a provision that would 
allow prosecution of military personnel in civilian court for crimes 
such as murder that do not come under the Military Code of Justice; and 
because the Public Ministry was not prepared in terms of budget or 
personnel to put the new Code into practice. 
 
There were no reports of political prisoners.  Members of Sendero 
Luminoso and those detained on charges of terrorism-- 
however arbitrary in some instances--are not considered political 
prisoners. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Constitution requires security forces to have a judicial warrant to 
enter a private dwelling, but this requirement is suspended in the 
emergency zones, and security forces in those areas routinely conduct 
searches without a warrant.  There were frequent credible reports of 
illegal telephone monitoring. 
 
A number of rural communities--with arms, training, and encouragement 
from the army--have organized self-defense forces, or rondas, to protect 
themselves against terrorist and bandit incursions.  These have had a 
noticeable impact on curbing Sendero's activity in certain areas of the 
country.  In some parts of Peru, rondas have existed for centuries as a 
form of social organization to protect communities from invaders and 
rustlers.  However, military authorities organized many of the newer 
rondas and sometimes coerced peasants into participating. 
 
As a regular practice and to a far greater degree, Sendero has forced 
peasants to join its military ranks, often for extended periods, and to 
participate in terrorist attacks and executions. 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
With the internal conflict winding down, reports of use of excessive 
force by the military have declined significantly from previous years.  
However, there were reports of excessive use of force by the military in 
counterinsurgency operations against terrorists in Ucayali, San Martin, 
and Huanuco departments.  During operations in San Martin and Huanuco 
departments, reports continued of arbitrary detentions by the military 
in communities where Sendero Luminoso had entered and terrorized 
residents. 
 
During the January-February border conflict with Ecuador, several 
citizens were killed or injured by mines planted along the border in the 
densely populated coastal areas during the war.  Soldiers also suffered 
many casualties from unmarked and unmapped mining in the upper Cenepa 
Valley. 
 
Although both the army and Sendero Luminoso committed serious human 
rights abuses in Peru's internal conflict, the latter was responsible 
for many more heinous acts.  Sendero frequently used arbitrary violence 
against civilians and nonmilitary targets.  It continued to detonate 
powerful bombs in public places, indiscriminately killing and injuring 
bystanders, and persisted in its practice of entering villages and 
killing residents at random.  Many of the victims were unarmed women and 
children.  Sendero Luminoso and MRTA were considered responsible for 232 
killings, including 7 deaths from bomb attacks which also injured 44 
people.  In armed confrontations, Sendero never took prisoners or 
attended to the wounded; its normal aim was to kill as many people as 
possible.  Sendero also practiced forced military conscription of 
children; one of those arrested for planting a small explosive device in 
Lima was only 15 years old. 
 
Among the other high-profile Sendero attacks was a car bomb explosion on 
May 24 in front of a hotel in the Miraflores section of Lima, which 
killed five civilians.  On July 1, a Sendero car bomb exploded in front 
of the home of congressional Vice President Victor Joy Way, causing 
severe damage and killing two police officers.  Although Sendero planted 
explosive devices near several embassies in Lima in March, no injuries 
were sustained.  A gunfight between security forces and MRTA terrorists 
in Lima on the evening of November 30 resulted in the death of one 
member of the security forces and three MRTA terrorists. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press.  The 
Government generally respected these provisions, although the Government 
uses its economic power in the form of newspaper advertising purchases 
to influence the press and is selective in allowing access to government 
newsmakers, events, and information in order to exert some control over 
the views expressed. 
 
The media represent a wide spectrum of information and opinion, with 22 
daily newspapers, 10 television stations, 3 cable systems, and 120 radio 
stations in Lima alone.  The media regularly criticize the Government 
and its policies, although that criticism has noticeably lessened in the 
last 3 years.  The Government owns a daily newspaper, a television 
network, and two radio stations, none of which are especially 
influential. 
 
Opposition political parties have access to the media.  Television 
stations, although generally progovernment, provide regular access to 
opposition figures on a variety of news and public affairs programs.  
The print press is divided between popular, largely apolitical tabloids 
and more comprehensive editorial-bearing papers which at times 
articulate positions in opposition to the Government's policies. 
 
The enactment of Decree Law 26470 in June effectively eliminated the 
applicability to the media of the 1993 Constitution's "habeas data" 
provision.  This measure had given any citizen a legal right and 
mechanism to demand "rectification" for articles or reports he or she 
considered libelous.  Many journalists viewed this provision as a 
potential tool to censor and harass the press.  As a result of these 
concerns, the Congress had voted overwhelmingly in August 1994 to remove 
from the Constitution the portion of the "habeas data" clause related to 
the press.  This action was praised by local journalists, as well by the 
Inter-American Press Society (SIP) which called the vote "an important 
step towards full observance of press freedom."  Since the changes 
affected the Constitution, the measure did not become law until Congress 
approved it a second time in a separate legislative session and the 
President signed the measure. 
 
During the January-February border conflict with Ecuador, journalists 
complained about government restrictions.  The Peruvian military rarely 
allowed journalists access to the combat zone and reportedly destroyed 
videotapes produced by journalists in the war zone.  Nevertheless, 
critics of government performance during the conflict enjoyed full 
access to the press which regularly reported their views. 
 
Three retired military officers, General Carlos Mauricio, General Walter 
Ledesma, and Navy Captain Luis Mellet, were charged with "disloyalty" 
and "insulting the nation" and detained in April and May for publicly 
criticizing the military's handling of the war with Ecuador.  Ledesma 
and  
 
Mellet were released after serving brief sentences; but Mauricio, whose 
charges related to the release of classified information, was sentenced 
to 14 months in prison.  Mauricio was released as a result of the June 
14 Amnesty Law, which also forgave retired military officers who had 
publicly criticized the military's handling of the border conflict. 
Several journalists were arrested by local authorities throughout the 
year in the course of their work.  La Republica journalist Clemente 
Quinto Panez was jailed for 2 days in La Oroya after uncovering and 
reporting the involvement of state mining company officials in a series 
of robberies there.  Yashin Salas, also of La Republica, was arrested by 
Yurimaguas police while photographing a pickup truck loaded with 
supplies for cocaine processing.  Luis Laos Fascioli of El Comercio was 
detained by customs agents who, in full view of a local magistrate in 
Bujama, twice tried to seize the reporter's camera. 
 
Two of the best known cases of imprisoned journalists are those of Jesus 
Alfonso Castiglione and Javier Tuanama Valera.  Castiglione, the former 
director of Radio Amistad in Huacho, was sentenced to 20 years in prison 
for terrorism despite a lack of evidence and pleas by international 
human rights organizations.  Tuanama, the former managing editor of the 
Tarapoto daily Hechos has been detained for 5 years on various terrorism 
charges, despite twice being acquitted, once on a charge that he took 
part in a terrorist act committed after the date of his detention in 
1990. 
 
The Government exercised substantial influence over the media through 
the placement of advertisements.  Some media owners claimed that the 
Government also encourages private advertisers to boycott opposition 
publications and uses tax investigations to harass them.  Many media 
owners are involved in other economic activities that require government 
licensing or involve bidding on government contracts.  Opposition media 
access to government information has been restricted.  Government press 
offices have refused to send news releases and other information to some 
magazines and often limited opposition media access to official 
transportation when the President visited remote parts of Peru or 
traveled abroad. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Constitution expressly provides for the right of peaceful assembly 
and association, and authorities normally respect them in practice, 
except in areas under a state of emergency (where the right of assembly 
is suspended).  Public meetings in plazas or streets require advance 
permission, which may be denied only for reasons of public safety or 
health.  Municipal authorities usually approved permits for 
demonstrations in Lima and nonemergency zones. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government 
respects this provision in practice.  The Constitution recognizes Roman 
Catholicism "as an important element in the historical, cultural, and 
moral development of the nation" but also establishes the separation of 
church and State.  Conversion to other religions is respected, and 
missionaries are allowed to enter and proselytize. 
 
Sendero Luminoso rejects religion and continues to threaten and 
intimidate religious workers.  Members of the Mormon Church, in 
particular, continued to receive threats and were victims of extortion 
by Sendero. 
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country 
 
The Constitution provides for the right of free movement, and there are 
no political or legal constraints on foreign travel or emigration.  
However, the authorities can restrict people with pending criminal and, 
in some cases, civil charges from leaving the country.  Freedom of 
movement is suspended in the emergency zones but is generally permitted 
under the army's supervision.  Nonetheless, the authorities may detain 
travelers in an emergency zone at any time.  Passengers on public 
transportation are controlled at check points throughout the country. 
 
The Constitution prohibits the revocation of citizenship; repatriates 
(both voluntary and involuntary) are not treated any differently from 
other citizens.  Peru has provisions for granting asylum and refugee 
status, although the procedures have been used by only a few in recent 
years, principally Cubans.  Refugees are not forced to return to 
countries in which they fear persecution. 
 
Sendero still occasionally tries to interrupt free movement within the 
country.  However, in 1995 a weakened Sendero did not conduct any "armed 
strikes."  During such operations civilians are typically told to stay 
home or risk reprisals. 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to make and amend 
the laws and replace the officials that govern them, and citizens 
exercise this right in practice.  The law bars only groups that advocate 
violent overthrow of the Government from participating in the political 
process.  Voting by secret ballot is mandatory for all citizens between 
the ages of 18 and 70; however, prisoners and members of the armed 
forces and the police are ineligible to vote.  Legal opposition parties 
represent a wide variety of opinion and ideology. 
 
Running for a second term under provisions of the 1993 Constitution, 
President Fujimori was reelected to a 5-year term on April 9 with 65 
percent of the vote over 12 other candidates.  Voters also selected 120 
members of the unicameral Congress.  Fujimori's Cambio 90/Nueva Mayoria 
party won 67 seats in the new Congress.  Twelve opposition parties won 
the remaining 53 seats. 
 
There was tampering with ballots just prior to the election in Huanuco 
and several other provincial towns.  However, quick action by the 
Organization of American States (OAS) election monitors and judicial and 
electoral authorities prevented such tampering from affecting the vote.  
The OAS election observer mission and a respected nonpartisan observer 
group, Transparencia, concluded that the elections were fair.  Concerns 
were raised, however, about the large number of congressional list 
tabulation forms that were declared invalid because they were not filled 
out properly by election workers. 
 
Women and minorities participate fully in government and politics.  
There are 11 female members of Congress; President Fujimori's July 
inauguration highlighted the swearing-in of the Congress's first female 
president.  The Congress's three-person preparatory committee was 
composed entirely of women for the first time in Peruvian history.  In 
addition, 2 of the 14 Cabinet Ministers and several vice ministers are 
women, as are the Attorney General and a Supreme Court Justice. 
 
Asians hold leadership positions in government; President Fujimori is 
from an Asian ethnic minority.  There are several indigenous 
congressmen, and a recent vice president was a Quechua speaker.  There 
are some indigenous prosecutors, and one of the presidential candidates 
was a Quechua speaker from Ancash.  However, it is rare for indigenous 
people, who represent 30 percent of the population, to reach the highest 
leadership levels in either the public or private sectors.  Until 
recently discrimination has often led to exclusion of members of these 
groups from leadership positions in government and business.  Members of 
the black minority have no leadership role in government, and there are 
no black members of Congress. 
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
The Government allowed numerous nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) 
dedicated to monitoring and advancing human rights to operate freely, 
although government officials continued to criticize them.  The military 
often restricted the ability of local and international human rights 
workers to investigate human rights abuses; the Government usually 
ignored human rights groups' requests for information and prohibited 
many human rights monitors--except the ICRC--from visiting some prisons.  
Verbal attacks by the Government against both domestic and international 
human rights monitors reflected its continuing suspicion of 
international NGO's in particular for bringing human rights abuses to 
public attention.  Legitimate fears of physical attack by Sendero 
severely limited the ability of human rights monitors to carry out their 
work. 
 
Most Peruvian human rights NGO's are independent and generally objective 
in their views.  Several private human rights groups joined in 1985 to 
form an umbrella organization known as the National Coordinating 
Committee for Human Rights, or Coordinadora.  The Coordinadora maintains 
a policy of not mixing politics with human rights (its individual 
members may do so, but not in the Coordinadora's name), and its members 
are recognized as thorough and impartial observers.  The Coordinadora 
had no dialog with the Government during the past year except on the 
issue of Peruvians detained in Ecuador during the 1995 border war.  The 
dialog between the Coordinadora and the Government stalled in 1994 as a 
result of Congress's action in the La Cantuta case. 
 
Human rights groups repeatedly denounced Sendero Luminoso as the 
greatest violator of human rights in Peru, while simultaneously 
documenting the many violations by the security forces.  Documentary 
evidence indicates that Coordinadora members have been balanced in their 
denunciations of abuses by both sides.  Nevertheless President Fujimori 
and other government officials continued to accuse human rights groups 
of defending terrorism and criticizing only government abuses.  Amnesty 
International added to the debate when it referred in its 1994 report on 
Peru (released in mid-1995) to Peruvian terrorists as "political 
prisoners."  President Fujimori denounced Amnesty International for this 
on July 10. 
 
On July 10, the offices of the Human Rights Commission (COMISEDH), a 
member of the Coordinadora, were broken into, and files relating to 
those believed to be falsely accused of terrorism and to human rights 
abuses committed by security forces were rifled.  Attorney Tito Guido 
Gallegos Gallegos of Juli, in Puno department, received a letter in July 
from a group calling itself the "Patriotic Military Front," which 
threatened to kill him if he did not stop opposing the amnesty of 
military officers.  A human rights attorney involved in the Barrios 
Altos case received an anonymous telephonic death threat in July related 
to her involvement in that case. 
 
On November 16 a funeral wreath was delivered to the offices of the pro-
human rights association APRODEH.  Attached to the wreath was a list of 
10 individuals, including human rights activists, members of Congress, 
and relatives of La Cantuta massacre victims.  Their names were listed 
under the words "in memorium," and after the names was written "in 
remembrance by the Colina community."  Shortly afterwards, the Defense  
 
Minister announced the retirement of military personnel convicted in the 
La Cantuta massacre who had received amnesty in June. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
The Constitution provides for equal rights for all citizens and 
specifically prohibits discrimination based on ethnic origin, race, 
gender, language, religion, opinion, or economic condition.  
Nevertheless, discrimination against women, the disabled, and minorities 
continued.  Even so, women have emerged as a key force on the Peruvian 
political scene.  Discrimination based on sexual orientation is 
frequent. 
 
   Women 
 
Violence against women, including rape and spousal abuse, is a chronic 
problem, according to local women's groups and law enforcement offices.  
On average there were over 300 complaints of violence against women per 
month, according to these sources.  In the last 10 years, there were 
over 60,000 reported cases of violence against women nationwide; many 
additional cases, however, go unreported.  While there are no reliable 
statistics, groups which work with victims believe spousal abuse and 
rape to be at a very high level.  Victims frequently are reluctant to 
come forward, and women's groups complain of police indifference and the 
pervasive assumption that if a women was raped she probably enticed the 
man. 
 
There are special police stations in Lima and other major cities where 
policewomen deal directly with abused women.  They report a rising 
number of complaints of domestic violence.  In addition, women's groups 
have established legal aid and health centers for women.  Judicial 
authorities take legal action against perpetrators of domestic violence.  
However, one of the reasons that special women's police stations were 
established was that regular policemen often do not take seriously 
accusations by women against their husbands.  Although the Government 
has passed strong legislation against domestic violence, it is not 
always implemented at lower levels, especially outside the major cities. 
 
The Constitution grants women equality, and laws on marriage, divorce, 
and property rights do not discriminate against women.  Nevertheless, 
tradition often impedes access by women to leadership roles in major 
social and business institutions. 
 
Sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a common problem.  
One study by a women's rights organization showed that 62 percent of 
working women knew of cases of sexual harassment in the workplace. 
 
   Children 
 
The Government made efforts to address children's human rights and 
welfare; however, much work still needs to be done.  President Fujimori 
frequently has emphasized the need to improve education at all levels, 
but the Government does not have sufficient funds for public schools.  
Millions of children continue to suffer from malnutrition and live in 
extreme poverty. 
 
The issue of children serving in the military was highlighted by the 
death of a 14-year-old soldier from a gangrene infection during the 
January-February border conflict with Ecuador.  The military denied that 
it recruited 14-year-olds and claimed that the child had volunteered at 
the start of the border conflict.  Nevertheless, the child's relatives 
in Lima publicly asserted that he had been forced into military service.  
There were also reports of other soldiers as young as 15 being injured 
during the conflict.  It is unclear how many soldiers under the age of 
18 serve in the military. 
 
In Lima there are thousands of orphaned, homeless, and abandoned 
children, and many of them are forced to work in the informal economy to 
support themselves.  One study indicated that more than 200,000 children 
under the age of 16 were working in order to survive.  Violence against 
children is a serious problem.  According to some estimates, 
approximately half of all rapes are perpetrated against minors.  The 
1995 suicide of a couple infected with AIDS, who had four young 
children, focused public attention on the growing need for homes for 
those orphaned as a result of AIDS-related deaths. 
 
New legislation in April discontinued the practice of adult terrorism 
trials for those under age 18 and ordered that underage prisoners be 
moved to juvenile detention facilities.  However, cases continued to 
come to light of persons under 18 who are held in adult prisons. 
 
   People With Disabilities 
 
Although the Constitution states that disabled persons "have the right 
to respect of their dignity and to a regime of protection, attention, 
readaptation, and security," the Government has few resources available 
for assisting the disabled or preventing discrimination against them.  
Little legislation and few accommodations exist for people with 
disabilities, such as wheelchair ramps on streets and in buildings, or 
laws mandating access for them, although in any case, few among the 
physically disabled have wheel chairs.  The number of those disabled is 
believed to be very high as a result of the years of violence during the 
Sendero and MRTA insurgencies.  Disabled persons face discrimination 
when seeking employment and many are reduced to begging in the streets.  
The publicity surrounding the success of Peru's team at the 1995 
International Special Olympics focused public attention on the problems 
of Peru's disabled. 
 
   Indigenous People 
 
The 1993 Constitution prohibits discrimination based on race and 
guarantees the right of all citizens to speak their native language.  
Nevertheless, Peru's large indigenous population faces pervasive 
discrimination and social prejudice.  Because of geographic isolation, 
government centralization, lack of organization, and social 
marginalization, indigenous people in general are unable to participate 
in decisions affecting their lands, cultures, traditions, and the 
allocation of natural resources.  In jungle areas, colonists, coca 
growers, guerrillas, and business interests steadily encroach on native 
lands, many seeking to exploit natural resources.  The largest 
indigenous groups are those speaking Quechua and Aymara, which are 
recognized as official languages.  However, there are dozens of smaller 
native language groups.  Indigenous people lack access to public 
services in many inland areas while business investment is concentrated 
on the coast. 
 
As a result of the January-February border war with Ecuador, public 
attention was focused on the 45,000 Aguaruna-Huambisa people who inhabit 
areas near the Upper Cenepa Valley where fighting took place.  A number 
of Aguaruna-Huambisa villages were evacuated during the fighting and 
several hundred Aguaruna-Huambisa tribesmen participated in the conflict 
as guides and couriers.  There were reports that some Aguaruna-Huambisa 
community members were pressed into service.  Aguaruna-Huambisa leaders 
have complained about the lack of consultation by the Government on 
matters affecting their welfare, including land tenure, and poor living 
conditions. 
 
Sendero Luminoso has been the most egregious violator of indigenous 
rights.  At the end of 1994, between 8,000 and 10,000 Ashaninkas in the 
central jungle area remained displaced and as many as 3,000 were in 
areas under Sendero control.  During that year, 1,500 displaced 
Ashaninkas were resettled in stable communities.  During 1995 displaced 
groups of Ashaninkas continued to be reincorporated into such 
communities. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Peru's population includes several small racial minorities, the largest 
of which are blacks of African descent and Asians.  Blacks, who tend to 
be concentrated along the coast, face particularly pervasive 
discrimination and social prejudice and are among the poorest groups in 
Peru.  They are excluded from leadership roles in government, military, 
and business institutions.  Both the navy and the air force reportedly 
have unwritten policies that exclude blacks from the officer corps.   
 
According to Peru's two black human rights groups, police routinely 
detain persons of African descent on suspicion of committing crimes for 
no other reason than the color of their skin, and police rarely act on 
complaints of crimes against blacks.  The Government has taken no action 
to remedy these problems. 
 
Although Peru's Asian population has traditionally been subjected to 
discrimination, this has changed during the past decade as Peru has 
looked toward Asia as a growth model and as the Asian community has 
achieved financial success.  Apart from President Fujimori, who is of 
Japanese descent, many other Asians now hold prominent leadership 
positions in business and government. 
 
Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
It is estimated that only 5 percent of the total work force of 8.5 
million belong to organized labor unions.  More than half of all workers 
are in the informal sector of the economy.  Workers do not need prior 
authorization to form a trade union, nor, by law, can employment be 
conditioned on union membership or nonmembership.  Existing unions 
represent a cross-section of political opinion.  Although some unions 
have been traditionally associated with political groups, the law 
prohibits unions from engaging in explicitly political, religious, or 
profit-making activities.  There are no restrictions on membership in 
international bodies.  Several major labor unions and confederations are 
affiliates of international labor groups, including the International 
Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Confederation of Free 
Trade Unions.  The several union leaders who ran unsuccessfully for 
Congress in 1995 all did so as individuals, without union sponsorship. 
 
In June Congress approved a new Employment Law, which all of the main 
union confederations publicly criticized for violating the rights of 
unions including freedom to bargain collectively and the right to work.  
Unions also complained that the new law eliminates the compulsory 
reinstatement of dismissed workers when it is proven that they were 
unjustly dismissed.  At present such workers only have the right to a 
year's pay as indemnification.  In September the head of the 
Coordinating Union Board, which is composed of the three main union 
confederations, complained publicly that the new Employment Law had led 
to the dismissal of approximately 3,000 workers since it was enacted.  
The Coordinating Union Board filed a complaint with the ILO regarding 
the new law. 
 
This new law, which treats both men and women equally, superseded 
earlier legislation which had provided special working conditions for 
women.  Among the benefits women workers lost were the guarantee of an 
hour each day for breastfeeding of children up to 1 year of age, and the 
requirement that employers with more than 25 female employees provide a 
nursery.  In practice, the new Labor Code has had a negative impact on 
the right of association by making it easier for companies to fire 
workers involved in union activities. 
 
   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
The 1993 Constitution recognizes the right of public and private workers 
to organize and bargain collectively.  However, these rights must be 
exercised in harmony with broader social objectives.  Labor regulations 
promulgated prior to the 1993 approval of the new Constitution provide 
that workers can form unions based on profession, employment, or 
geographic location.  The regulations exclude temporary, probationary, 
apprentice, or management employees from union membership.  They require 
a minimum of 100 members to form trade unions by branch of activity, 
occupation, or for various occupations; and a minimum of 20 workers to 
form a union within a company.  They also limit the number of union 
officials, the amount of time they may devote to union business on 
company time, and require them to be active members of the union.  No 
legal provisions require employers who commit antiunion discrimination 
to reinstate workers fired for union activities. 
 
Labor regulations set the number of union representatives who can 
participate in collective bargaining negotiations (a minimum of 3, a 
maximum of 12) and establish the negotiating timetable.  The management 
negotiating team cannot exceed the size of the workers' team; both sides 
may have attorneys and professional experts in attendance as advisers.  
A majority of all workers in a company, whether union members or not, 
must approve a strike by a secret ballot.  A second vote must be taken 
upon petition of 20 percent or more of the workers.  The labor movement 
criticized provisions of the new Labor Code which facilitate an 
employer's ability to dismiss employees as impeding workers' right to 
bargain collectively.  However, there are apparently no restrictions 
that would prohibit unions from negotiating a higher standard than the 
base line of protection provided for workers by the law.  To become an 
official collective bargaining representative, a union must represent 20 
workers. 
 
Labor regulations also permit companies unilaterally to propose 
temporary changes of work schedules, conditions, and wages and to 
suspend for up to 90 days collective bargaining agreements if obliged to 
do so by an unexpected event or economic conditions, provided they give 
15 days' notice to employees.  If workers dispute the proposed changes, 
the Labor Ministry must resolve the dispute based upon criteria of 
"reasonableness" and "economic necessity."  In such cases employers must 
authorize vacation time and in general adopt measures that avoid 
aggravating the employment situation. 
 
A conciliation and arbitration system resolves disputes, but union 
officials complain that their proportionate share of the cost of 
arbitration can exceed their resources.  (In the past, business and 
government entities had covered these costs.)  Union officials also 
state that increasing numbers of companies utilize a policy of hiring 
workers on temporary, personal services contracts to prevent union 
affiliation.  The new law restricts such hiring to 20 percent of the 
company's workforce.  Regulations on this point are still being 
formulated by the Labor Ministry.  This is a continuing subject of 
contention between organized labor and employers and is one of the 
concerns that labor continues to raise in international forums.  
Employers deny the accusation of antiunion bias and assert that labor 
stability provisions of the law have made long-term commitments to 
workers too expensive. 
 
Special regulations permitting greater flexibility in application of the 
Labor Code in export and duty free zones provide for the use of 
temporary labor as needed, flexibility in labor contracts, and a wage 
system based upon supply and demand.  As a result, workers in duty free 
zones are unable to unionize.  Duty free zone employers do not engage in 
illegal activities to prevent unionization. 
 
   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory labor, as well as 
imprisonment for debt.  However, there are periodic reports of the 
practice of forced labor in remote Andean mountain and Amazonian jungle 
regions of the country.  In response to a complaint filed with the ILO, 
the Government in 1994 acknowledged the existence of such practices and 
asserted it had taken measures to end abuses.  However, reports of 
forced labor, including that of children in gold mines in the remote 
Madre de Dios department, continued to emerge.  Forced labor is not a 
problem in urban areas. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
Education through primary school is compulsory and free.  A high 
percentage of school-age children nevertheless work rather than attend 
daytime classes, with only a small number of such children attending 
classes at night.  Given Peru's widespread poverty, children work in the 
informal economy without government supervision of wages or conditions 
from a very early age to help support their families.  A recent 
Government labor study found that 8 percent of the workforce was between 
the ages of 6 and 14.  The Government's National Institute of Family 
Welfare cooperates with the United Nations Children's Fund and the 
Inter-American Development Bank to assist and rescue street children and 
other child laborers. 
 
The minimum legal age for employment is 16.  The new Labor Code raised 
the age from 21 to 25 years for the special youth labor provisions, 
which allow employers to pay lower salaries as part of a program to 
provide new workers with specialized training.  The new Labor Code also 
increased the period of apprenticeship from 18 to 36 months.  In 
addition, workers covered by these provisions now may make up 30 percent 
(increased from 15 percent) of a company's work force. 
 
Child labor is heavily used in the agricultural sector and in informal 
gold mining, but not in other major export industries, such as petroleum 
and fisheries.  Recent studies by NGO's found that approximately 4,500 
workers younger than 18 years of age work in harsh conditions in the 
informal Madre de Dios gold mines.  Many of these workers are under the 
age of 15, and some are as young as 11.  These child laborers were 
recruited from their families through a system known as "enganche" in 
Puno, Juliaca, Sicuani, Abancay, and Cuzco, through which they are 
provided free transportation to the mine and reportedly agree to work 
for at least 90 days before being paid.  The Government has not 
exercised control over these employment agencies, and employers do not 
comply with labor code provisions relating to juveniles.  Children who 
work in the informal gold mines lack proper medical care, must work long 
hours, and are often subjected to beatings, mistreatment, and rape.  
There are also reports of these mine workers not being paid. 
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The Constitution provides that the State promote social and economic 
progress and occupational education.  It states that workers should 
receive a "just and sufficient" wage, to be determined by the Government 
in consultation with labor and business representatives and "adequate 
protection against arbitrary dismissal."  The current minimum wage is 
about $57 (S/130) per month and is generally considered inadequate to 
support a worker and family.  A considerable portion, half according to 
some estimates, of the country's work force make only the minimum wage. 
 
The Constitution also provides for a 48-hour workweek, a weekly day of 
rest, and yearly vacation.  It prohibits discrimination in the 
workplace.  While occupational health and safety standards exist, the 
Government lacks the resources to monitor or enforce compliance.  
Employers and workers generally agree upon compensation for industrial 
accidents on an individual basis.  The Government introduced reforms in 
1993 eliminating the need to prove culpability in order to obtain 
worker's compensation for injuries.  There are no provisions for workers 
to remove themselves from dangerous work situations without jeopardy to 
continued employment. 
 
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