Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Part 1: Political and Human Rights Conditions

Peru is a multiparty republic with a population estimated at 28.2 million. In June 2006 Alan Garcia of the Popular Revolutionary Party Alliance won the presidency in elections that were considered free and fair. The civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces. Although the government generally respected the rights of its citizens, human rights problems included: abuse of detainees and inmates by police and prison security forces; government corruption; violence and discrimination against women; sexual abuse and other violence against children; trafficking in persons; discrimination against indigenous people and minorities; failure to apply or enforce labor laws; forced labor; and child labor. Human rights problems were connected with the country's weak institutions, corruption, and the lack of state presence in parts of the country. The terrorist organization Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) linked to narcotics trafficking was responsible for killings and other human rights abuses. There were alleged unlawful killings by government forces in relation to government efforts to combat remnant terrorist groups.

Part 2: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives

In developing strategic priorities to promote human rights and democratic principles, U.S. officials consult and work closely with government institutions, NGOs, indigenous communities, labor unions, and other civil society organizations to encourage reform and promote respect for human rights and democracy. The U.S. Government uses diplomatic engagement, public outreach, foreign assistance programs, and related activities to advance human rights and democracy promotion objectives.

The United States' strategy to foster democracy focuses on supporting political decentralization, strengthening political parties, greater political participation of indigenous communities and other marginalized groups, and anticorruption initiatives. The U.S. Government's strategic priorities for respecting human rights are directed at combating child labor, child commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking in persons, and respecting labor rights.

Part 3: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance

The U.S. Government employs public diplomacy outreach, and funding to carry out its strategic human rights and democracy priorities. To strengthen political parties and promote electoral reform, the United States supports a program that fosters consultations among political parties, NGOs, and national and local government officials to enhance respect for the rule of law and government institutions. U.S. funding is also used to train government officials to implement the new judicial criminal code aimed at combating corruption. The United States funds a program to strengthen inclusiveness and democratic decision-making within political parties by increasing outreach to rural communities and other underrepresented constituents. U.S. Government programs foster citizen participation in municipal government decision-making and democratic decentralization in the departments of San Martin, Ucayali, Junin, Ayacucho, and Cajamarca.

Through a variety of diplomatic outreach and public awareness initiatives, U.S. officials actively promote human rights with international visitor leadership programs, speaking engagements, and public videoconferences between U.S. and local experts on judicial reform, transparency, fighting corruption, and improving race and gender relations.

U.S. Government foreign assistance supports capacity building of local anthropologists to use forensic analysis to conduct exhumations and laboratory testing to identify the remains of victims of past human rights abuses committed during the 1980-2000 internal armed conflict. In May 2008 this project conducted a major exhumation and identification of more than 100 men, women, and children who were victims of a massacre in 1984 in Putis near Ayacucho. The project aims to overcome institutional obstacles to prosecution, to combat impunity, and to facilitate the continuing process of national reconciliation.

United States funding promotes the eradication of child labor by operating a program that reaches more than 5,000 at-risk children in Lima, Callao, Iquitos, and Trujillo to provide out-of-school working children with social services and education. To combat trafficking in persons, U. S. assistance trains police, prosecutors, and judges, and supports civil society advocacy with the government for implementing antitrafficking initiatives, shelters, a trafficking hot line, and other victim support. U.S. Government funding improves labor inspections, promotes worker rights, and strengthens government labor law enforcement, including developing a national training program for more than 400 labor inspectors, establishing a methodology for measuring inspector efficiency and results, and operating a call center for citizen complaints and inquiries.