Interior Minister Valdes Calls for Regional Govts to Take Role In Preventing Conflicts

Interior Minister Oscar Valdes said Friday that Peru’s police will be seeking greater cooperation from regional governments to prevent social conflicts, state news agency Andina reported.

“We will ask the regional governments to start to lead proposals, to look at the problems that their population has and encourage a dialogue, because the police can’t be everywhere at the same time,” Valdes said.

Social conflicts in Peru, often over the development of natural resource projects, have caused over a hundred deaths over the past few years and affected numerous regions.

Valdes said the police are not well equipped with non-lethal weapons to confront protesters and restore order.

He said that greater participation of regional governments would also free up police to combat drug trafficking in Peru’s coca-growing regions. Peru is the world’s biggest producer of coca, the raw material used to make cocaine.

Peru’s government recently enacted a law aimed to implement prior consultation for communities ahead of mining and energy projects and other development plans. The law, which recognizes the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 169,  is expected to be implemented in early 2012 with its governing regulations. The government expects it to be an important tool for resolving issues before they become serious conflicts.

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