Human Rights Watch Calls on Humala to Stop Killings of Protesters

Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-based rights group, has called on Peru’s government to prevent killings of protesters by security forces.

At least 15 people have been killed in protests since President Ollanta Humala was sworn in to office in July 2011. Many of the deaths have come during protests aimed at large-scale mining projects.

Human Rights Watch said the government “should act to prevent the unlawful use of lethal force by security forces during crowd-control operations.”

“When violence erupts during public protests, the authorities have an obligation to reestablish order, but they need to fully respect the rights of protesters and bystanders alike,” Jose Miguel Vivanco, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas program, said. “It can be a very tough job, but there’s no excuse for not doing it right.”

Human Rights Watch highlighted the deaths of four civilians in July during protests against the development of Newmont Mining’s $5.0 billion Minas Conga copper and gold deposit.

The rights group said that evidence it collected “strongly suggested that security forces were not facing an imminent threat at the time the fatal shots were fired.”

“According to multiple witnesses, as well as hospital records, the shooting of the civilians occurred more than an hour after the police officers and soldier had allegedly been shot,” Human Rights Watch said. “Residents who witnessed two of the fatal shootings of civilians reported that the victims were standing on the street passively observing events when they were shot.”

“In addition to the proper equipment, the government should provide its security forces with clear and appropriate rules on the proper use of force, and leave no doubt that anyone who breaks these rules will be held fully accountable,” Vivanco added.

Human Rights Watch also said it was concerned about new legislation in Congress that if approved “would authorize the use of lethal force in situations not permitted under international law.”

The latest death in protests against mining companies occurred Wednesday. One person was killed in a confrontation with police outside Canadian-based miner Barrick Gold’s Pierina mine, in the Ancash region in the central highlands north of Lima.

One Comment

  1. “Human Richts Watch” (sic) believes that ANY deaths of soldiers, policemen or others trying to establish or maintain order are JUST FINE, but let one “leftist” demonstrator, Sendero terrorist or their supporters be injured or killed, and this is a ‘major violation of “human rights”. ‘

    In other words, violent demonstrators, murderers and terrorists have the right to live, (and to kill police and military) but not the men and women of the armed forces and police who try to maintain order for EVERYONE.

    One more proof that Yankees are strange and bizarre people.

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