Peru Ombudsman: Social conflicts total 252 in February

The Public Ombudsman’s Office registered and monitored 252 social conflicts in the country last month, down slightly from 260 in January, according to a report they released this week.

The ombudsmen’s office said 160 of the conflicts, about 63 percent, are active, while 92 are inactive. Discussions to resolve the conflicts are currently taking place in 51 percent of the cases. The report said that 22 of the active social conflicts are escalating and in 82 cases the main actors are in talks to resolve their disputes.

Peru’s southern Andean department of Puno registered the most conflicts with 22, followed by 20 cases in Lima, 19 in Junín, and 18 in Cusco. Forty-eight percent of the conflicts were environmental-related, while 13.9 percent were related to local governance and 10.7 percent were due to labor disputes.

Four social conflicts were resolved in February, while six new ones emerged. Five of the new social conflicts registered last month were related to environmental concerns. They were located in the departments of Amazonas, Apurímac, Cajamarca, Piura and Puno.

One of the new conflicts occurred in the town of Capaso, located in Puno. The conflict involves exploration activities by a small mining company and worries in the community that it will contaminate local waterways.

Peru’s social conflicts have shot up from 84 in July 2006 – a month after President Alan Garcia was elected as APRA’s presidential candidate in a runoff election – to its peak of 288 in September 2009.

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