Our Associate member, the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns, has expressed its solidarity with the Peruvian people. Together with 10 other faith groups, they request the US Ambassador’s support for the human rights of government protestors.
July 18, 2023
Honourable Lisa Kenna, Ambassador
Embassy of the United States of America
Dear Ambassador Kenna:
In anticipation of protests convened in Lima on July 19, we write to urge you to speak out publicly, as well as use your diplomatic channels with the Peruvian authorities, to ensure that Peru comply with its obligations to respect and protect the peaceful exercise of its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and protest.
We are among the 37 national and international faith-based organisations, many with members working in Peru, who wrote a letter to President Biden and Congress in February about our alarm at the disproportionate and exaggerated response that Peruvian security forces unleashed on protestors back then, resulting in over 55 deaths and 1200 wounded. We echoed the call made by Members of the House of Representatives to temporarily halt U.S. security assistance to Peru.
As new mobilizations are announced this week in Lima and other parts of Peru, we are concerned that Peruvian authorities have responded by threatening the use of force against demonstrators and criminalising those who wish to exercise this right. Of particular concern is the announcement of a state of emergency and the large deployment of the security forces in the streets of Lima. In addition, police posts in Lima have been set up to control the entry of people from the provinces.
We share the concerns voiced by an international coalition of human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Washington Office on Latin America, Centro por la Justicia y El Derecho Internacional (CEJIL) and Due Process of Law Foundation in their statement urging the Peruvian State “to comply with the requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and temporality as established by international law in relation to the use of force and states of emergency in order to prevent these measures from being used in an illegal, abusive and/or disproportionate manner.”
We also are particularly alarmed to learn about the joint military exercises being planned by the U.S. in Peru. The Peruvian government has not accepted responsibility for the human rights violations carried out by its security forces against protestors. Our Embassy’s silence in calling for such accountability, plus the undertaking of joint exercises with the Peruvian military— communicates that the U.S. is not serious about human rights.
We urge the Embassy to do all it can to speak out at this time and urge the Peruvian government to comply with its obligations to protect the peaceful exercise of its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and protest.
Lisa Sullivan, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Washington, DC
Jean Stokan, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team, Washington, DC
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa Peace and Justice Office
Franciscan Action Network
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Pax Christi USA
Pax Christi International
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
U.S. Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph
Dominican Sisters of Springfield, IL