Human Rights in Peru

Between 1980 and 2000, 69,000 people, mostly indigenous, were killed in the conflict between guerrilla groups and the state forces. Compensations and reparations are still being discussed, but officials that were responsible for some of the brutalities and closely linked to the Peruvian government remain in impunity. Moreover, in spite of the near destruction of the Shining Path and MRTA guerrilla groups, violence - in the form of murders and gang warfare - is still a problem and has been linked to the drugs trade.

Torture and police brutality continue to be a problem. The Human Rights Commission (Comision de Derechos Humanos, COMISEDH), a human rights NGO that has monitored the issue over many years, documented 11 such complaints in the first six months of 2006.

Liberty of expression has been restored; however, “Reporters Without Borders” says there is a high level of violence against the media. Corruption, drug-trafficking and the activities of Shining Path rebels are "very dangerous" subjects for reporters.

Peru is one of South America's biggest producers of coca - the raw material for cocaine. The UN children's fund, UNICEF, has found that most of the pickers in the coca-growing areas in the north-east and south-east are children.

Despite the social reforms, Peru was and remains a country deeply divided politically and economically. A small elite of Spanish descent controls most of the wealth and political power, while indigenous Peruvians are largely excluded from both and make up many of the millions who live in poverty.

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