IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomed the creation of an intersectoral mechanism to protect human rights defenders in Peru. The IACHR values this measure, which it views as an important step toward promoting an environment that guarantees comprehensive protection for human rights defenders in the country.
According to the information received by the IACHR, the Intersectoral Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders was created through Supreme Decree No. 004-2021, published on April 22, 2021. The purpose of the mechanism is to guarantee prevention, protection, and access to justice for human rights defenders in response to situations of risk that may arise as a result of their work.
The IACHR noted that the decree incorporates inter-American standards on the prevention of risk and the protection of human rights defenders. In this regard, it includes measures to prevent the risks faced by human rights defenders as a consequence of the work they carry out. Specifically, the IACHR drew attention to the fact that Peru has created a registry of situations of risk faced by human rights defenders: as has been observed in the past, measures of this type are extremely important when it comes to designing and evaluating effective public policies to prevent violence against these groups, protect them from this, and prosecute those who perpetrate such acts.
The mechanism also contemplates an early warning procedure to be used to evaluate requests for protection measures, including urgent ones. In this regard, the IACHR noted once again that risk assessments must be carried out by experts with specialist training in this matter, and that both these assessments and any protection measures must be applied from an intersectional perspective that includes gender, ethnic/racial, and cultural approaches. It also underlined the need to guarantee that the people requesting or benefiting from these protection measures participate in all stages of the process.
According to the decree, the mechanism will include various ministries, which will take action on aspects that fall under their respective remits. Coordination between the different authorities that make up the mechanism will be essential to ensuring that it functions effectively.
Finally, the IACHR wishes to highlight the fact that the mechanism includes measures to promote access to justice for human rights defenders, including training and education programs for judicial personnel. In this regard, it has repeatedly pointed out that the most vital means for protecting human rights defenders are diligent investigations into acts of violence against them and the punishment of those responsible for these acts.
The IACHR welcomed this initiative by the Peruvian State to protect human rights defenders and informed the State of its willingness to work with it and provide technical assistance with implementing the mechanism.
The IACHR is a principal and autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), whose mandate derives from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The IACHR is composed of seven independent members who are elected by the OAS General Assembly in their personal capacity, and do not represent their countries of origin or residence.