Press Release

IACHR Takes Case Involving Peru to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

November 19, 2019

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) filed on July 26, 2019 an application before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Case 12,319, National Federation of Maritime and Port Workers–FEMAPOR, with regard to Peru.

This case refers to the failure to comply with an amparo upheld by Peru’s Supreme Court of Justice on February 12, 1992, in a decision that specified the correct way to calculate the Additional Increase in Wages (IAR, by its Spanish acronym) in favor of 4,106 former maritime, port, and river workers. A total of 2,317 beneficiaries of this court decision continued to pursue redress at the courts from 2010, because they believed that inaccurate calculations had been used to pay their social benefits.

The Commission considered that the mere fact that payments provided for in a Supreme Cout decision only started to be paid out 12 years later, in 2004, was in itself a violation of the right to effective judicial protection for the whole group of workers who were beneficiaries of that court sentence, and left them defenseless and in a legally uncertain position. The Commission further considered that this violation persists to this day for the 2,317 workers who continued to demand redress at the courts.

The Commission also considered that the more than 25 years passed without the Supreme Court decision of February 12, 1992 being fully implemented mean this implementation clearly cannot be considered timely. The Commission further considered that the Peruvian State is liable for violating beneficiaries’ right to private property, since the Supreme Court decision upheld the payments they were due as worker rights and benefits and recognized those payments as the victims’ property. Finally, the Commission said that the Peruvian State’s failure to comply with these court decisions goes beyond the individual circumstances of alleged victims in this case and needs to be examined in a wider context. The Commission stressed that, while the State is aware of this problem, it has failed to take the measures necessary to solve it and to prevent it from happening again, whether for FEMAPOR workers or more generally.

The IACHR recommended that the State ensure full compliance, as soon as possible, with the decision issued by the Supreme Court of Justice on February 12, 1992, based on the contents of an expert report that calculated the correct amounts due to each of the 2,317 workers, and to immediately pay those amounts. The IACHR further recommended comprehensive reparations for violations mentioned in the Merits Report, including due compensation for all victims for damages caused by the delay and the resulting denial of justice. The Commission recommended that the State adopt any legislative measures or measures of any other kind needed to ensure non-repetition of the violations mentioned in the Merits Report. The State will need to take any measures necessary to ensure that procedures to comply with this court decision meet conventional standards of simplicity and swiftness. It will further need to make sure that the judicial authorities who are handling these proceedings are legally capable of implementing any necessary coercion mechanisms to ensure compliance with court decisions, and do enforce those decisions.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 300/19