COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
observations of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee considered the twelfth and thirteenth periodic reports
of Peru (CERD/C/298/Add.5) at its 1317th and 1318th meetings (CERD/C/SR.1317
and 1318), held on 9 and 10 March 1999, and adopted the following concluding
observations at its 1330th meeting on 18 March 1999 (CERD/C/SR.1330).
2. The Committee welcomes
Peru's submission of its twelfth and thirteenth periodic reports and the
opportunity thus afforded to pursue a dialogue with the State party. The
Committee thanks the State party for having sent a high-level delegation,
led by the Minister of Justice, which provided additional information
in reply to the many questions raised by the members of the Committee
during the consideration of the report.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee takes note
with satisfaction of the information provided on the marked decrease in
the activities of subversive groups and on the fall in the number of complaints
concerning human rights violations.
4. It also takes note with
satisfaction of the information provided by the State party on the improvement
in the country's economic situation.
5. It takes note with interest
that Peru supports Agenda 21, adopted at the United Nations Conference
on Environment and Development, one chapter of which deals with the role
of indigenous communities and environmental preservation. Peru also took
part in the establishment of a Special Commission on Indigenous Affairs
in Amazonia and supported the creation of the Fund for the Development
of the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.
6. The Committee takes note
of the agreement reached with the International Labour Organization on
the setting up of a special programme for the protection of indigenous
communities, under which complaints concerning violations of human rights
can be investigated and prosecuted.
7. The inclusion in school
syllabuses of material intended to prevent racial discrimination is also
noted with interest.
8. The Committee expresses
satisfaction at the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman and of
its programme of activities for the indigenous population.
9. The Committee is pleased
that Peru has made the optional declaration provided for in article 14
of the Convention, thereby accepting the procedure for individual communications.
C. Principal subjects of concern
10. The Committee regrets
that the report provides only a partial response to the observations and
recommendations made when the previous report was considered in 1995.
11. The Committee would like
to know if the changes brought about by the 1993 Constitution regarding
the status of international treaties, including the Convention, as opposed
to national norms, could be detrimental to the implementation of the Convention.
12. The Committee notes with
concern the close relationship between socio-economic underdevelopment
and the phenomena of ethnic or racial discrimination against part of the
population, chiefly the indigenous and peasant communities. In this respect,
the Committee regrets the absence in the periodic report of information
on the socio-economic indicators relevant to the situation of populations
of indigenous, peasant or African origin. It nevertheless notes that the
report acknowledges shortcomings in areas such as housing and health.
13. With regard to the implementation
of article 2 of the Convention, the Committee reiterates its observations
concerning the lack of information enabling it to know how the constitutional
provisions guaranteeing the protection of the right to freedom from discrimination
on racial or ethnic grounds are applied in practice.
14. With regard to article
4 of the Convention, the Committee notes with concern the lack of specific
legislative provisions aimed at giving full effect to the Convention,
though it acknowledges the existence of legislative initiatives aimed
at making up for that lack.
15. The Committee regrets
the absence of information on the number of complaints and court decisions
concerning acts of racism and on the reparation awarded as a result. It
notes with concern that in the cases brought before the courts, it was
reportedly entirely up to the plaintiff to prove discrimination.
16. With respect to the right
to equal treatment before the courts, the Committee notes with concern
reports that interpreters are not in practice available to monolingual
indigenous people and that legislation has not been translated into indigenous
17. It is also worrying to
learn that people who are in fact subjected to all sorts of pressure,
from both subversive groups and the forces of law and order, are being
charged with aiding and abetting terrorists. Allegations have further
been made that indigenous communities are being forced to set up self-defence
committees under the armed forces and that young people from the most
underprivileged sectors of the population are being conscripted by force.
18. The Committee takes note
of reports that the indigenous population, the members of which often
have no identity papers and are illiterate, is thus deprived of the possibility
of exercising its civic and political rights.
19. The Committee takes note
of the information on major shortcomings in the health services provided
for the rural population in the Andes and in Amazonia, and of the allegations
of forced sterilization of women belonging to indigenous communities.
It also takes note of reports that there is a difference of almost 20
years between the life expectancy of people of indigenous origin and that
of the rest of the population.
20. With regard to the right
to employment, the Committee takes note with concern of the reports that
access to jobs and promotions is often influenced by racial criteria,
while certain minor or disparaged jobs are left to persons of indigenous
or African origin.
21. With regard to the right
of access to all public places, the Committee takes note of the promulgation
in late 1998, following complaints of discriminatory practices in that
respect, of legislation prohibiting the owners of establishments open
to the public from screening their clients on racial grounds. The Committee
regrets, however, that this prohibition is not yet accompanied by any
form of penalty.
22. The Committee is concerned
about reports that the 1993 Constitution no longer totally guarantees
that the communal property of indigenous populations is inalienable and
unavailable for use.
23. With regard to the right
to education, the Committee regrets the absence of information in the
report on the number of children from communities of indigenous, peasant
or African origin not attending school.
D. Suggestions and recommendations
24. Measures should be taken
to guarantee the right of the most underprivileged members of the population
to benefit from all the rights listed in article 5 of the Convention and
the right to equal treatment before the courts and in the exercise of
their political rights.
25. The Committee recommends
that the State party bring its penal legislation into line with the provisions
of the Convention, in particular with regard to article 4.
26. Programmes of instruction
in human rights intended for justice administration personnel and members
of the security forces should include training in the prevention of and
protection against racial discrimination.
27. The Committee recommends
that the State party take measures aimed at establishing a genuine dialogue
between the Government and non-governmental organizations in the fight
against racial and ethnic discrimination.
28. In its next report, the
State party should provide information on, inter alia: (a) the
ethnic make-up of the population, insofar as such information is available;
(b) socio-economic indicators relevant to the situation of populations
of indigenous, peasant or African origin; (c) the progress made to the
benefit of those people on each of the rights listed in article 5 of the
Convention; (d) the measures of legislative reform taken with a view to
full compliance with the requirements of article 4 of the Convention and
the punishment of all forms of racial and ethnic discrimination; (e) the
follow-up to complaints from the victims of racial and ethnic discrimination
and to their requests for reparation, in accordance with article 6 of
the Convention; (f) the measures taken to train agents responsible for
the implementation of legislation in terms of tolerance and inter-ethnic
and inter-racial understanding; (g) the measures taken to spread knowledge
of the Convention and to publicize the Committee's reports and concluding
29. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6,
of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting
of States Parties to the Convention.
30. The Committee recommends
that the State party's next report, which was due on 29 October 1998,
be an updating report and that it should cover all the suggestions and
recommendations made in these concluding observations.