Summary: This report extracts mentions of children's rights issues in the reports of the UN Special Procedures. This does not include reports of child specific Special Procedures, such as the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, which are available as separate reports.
Please note that the language may have been edited in places for the purpose of clarity
- Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery
- Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
- Requested visits
Country visit: 9 - 20 May 2011
Report published: 15 August 2011
Background: The main objectives of the mission were to examine the nature and incidence of contemporary forms of slavery, in forced labour and child slavery in the mining and logging sector, domestic servitude and other areas, and to engage in a dialogue with the Government of Peru in order to eradicate contemporary forms of slavery. During her visit, the Special Rapporteur undertook consultations with representatives from the the Committee for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour. and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Peru has ratified the Optional Protocol on the sale of the children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.11 Peru is a party to the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention (No.182). Peru has ratified the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (paras 1, 2, 14, 16).
National Legislation: The Child and Adolescent Code prohibits forced labour, economically exploitative labour, forced recruitment, prostitution and trafficking of children and adolescents. It specifies that children who work for another person may do so as of the age of 15 years if the work is non-industrial agricultural labour; at the age of 16 years, in cases of industrial, commercial or mining work; and as of the age of 17 years, in the fishing industry. For all other forms of work, children must be at least 14 years old. Economic activities that are conducted underground, involve toxic substances, require carrying heavy weights or are in any way harmful to a child’s health and moral well-being are prohibited for persons younger than 18 years. In such cases, adolescents require a work permit from either the Ministry of Labour or the municipality, and a registry of working children must be kept. The work must not interfere with regular school attendance. The Special Rapporteur, while commending such a system of authorization and registry, notes, however, that, in practice, of the total number of children working, very few have been duly authorized. Decree 003-2010-MIMDES lists approved types of work and activities that are hazardous or harmful for the physical and moral health of young persons. The penalty for trafficking in persons, including for forced labour, is from 8 to 15 years of imprisonment, increased to 12 to 20 years if the victim is between 14 and 18 years of age. The penalty is no less than 25 years of imprisonment if the victim is under 14 years (paras 21-23, 63).
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Peru include in the proposed legislative amendments to the Code of Children and Adolescents the following: An explicit and broad prohibition of child slavery in all types of mining (underground, surface or in rivers) and in all operations linked to the mining process (extraction, transport and processing); A provision that ensures that the law captures child domestic workers working in the houses of relatives and/or godmothers/godfathers (real or fictitious), and prohibits live-in domestic work children younger than 18 years of age; other domestic work for children younger than 15 years or still completing compulsory education should be prohibited to the extent that it interferes with their schooling; The adoption, as a matter of priority, the above amendments, as well as the amendments envisioned to article 51 raising the minimum age for children to work to 15 years (para 73).
Institutional framework: The Committee for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour coordinates the execution of the national plan to prevent and eradicate child labour. The Committee is composed of representatives of different ministries, workers’ organizations, employers’ organizations, and international and national organizations. The Special Rapporteur commends the creation in 2005 of the Committee. She notes that the Committee has been successfully decentralized through regional committees responsible for the implementation of the plan, and are encouraged to develop and implement their own plans of action, taking into consideration particular incidences of child labour and the local context as a means to complement and guarantee the implementation of the plan (paras 28, 56).
The Municipal Commission for the Rights of the Child and the Adolescent is an interinstitutional mechanism that helps municipalities to promote and protect the rights of children. The Special Rapporteur also notes the creation in 2010 of the General Directorate of Fundamental Rights, Health and Safety, a body responsible for formulating policies and whose functions are aimed at, inter alia, the eradication of forced and child labour. With regard to child labour, the Special Rapporteur commends the Government for its efforts to sensitize more than 1 million people on the prevention and eradication of child labour through campaigns and the distribution of informative materials in shopping centres and in public services. She also appreciates the fact that 172,053 people, including workers, employers and public servants, had received training with the aim of eradicating child labour. She commends the Public Prosecutor’s Office for its work to disseminate information on child labour to children at school, parents and street children (paras 29, 57, 59).
The Special Rapporteur is concerned that the Committee for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour does not have any permanent staff or dedicated funds to carry out their respective national plans. She is also concerned that the Committee lacks a clear mandate and sufficient authority to carry out its mandate. In addition, no monitoring seems to have been conducted on the implementation of the national plan of action on the eradication of child labour, which ended in 2010. With regard to the Directorate for Children and Adolescents, which falls within the Ministry of Women and Social Development and is in charge of the programmes for the well-being of children and adolescents, the Special Rapporteur is of the view that such a key entity does not have enough authority to coordinate the different sectors (para 67).
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government provide adequate funding through its national budget to empower the Committee for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labour as well as the different regional and local offices involved in the prevention and eradication of child labour to carry out their mandates efficiently; Consider raising the status of the Directorate for Children and Adolescents by establishing a post of State secretary, which would address, in a comprehensive and holistic way, all issues affecting children by developing, coordinating and monitoring all programmes and actions on child protection (para 75).
Mining sector: The Special Rapporteur received information on the extent of contemporary forms of slavery of both adults and children in the illegal small-scale mining sector. Men and adolescents are often recruited through deception. They work long hours in very dangerous conditions, are exposed to toxic substance and to serious diseases. Workers are poorly fed and have no form of labour protection or health and social security coverage. The phenomenon of child labour still persists, in particular in very remote areas of the province as well as in others, such as Ayacucho and Puno. In 2006, it was estimated that around 20per cent of the miners in small-scale mining in Madre de Dios were between 11 and 18 years old. Such children are involved in high-risk activities and handle highly toxic products, like mercury. Children are also exposed to serious injury and harm, breathe contaminated air and are exposed to soil and water that are contaminated with metals and chemical products. The Special Rapporteur considers that the work carried out by children in the mining sector, by its very nature and the conditions in which it is performed, qualifies as a contemporary form of slavery. No. 28992 of 27 March 2007, expressly prohibits the employment of persons under 18 years of age in mining of any description. She also notes the efforts of the Government to support the formalization of artisanal mining, including through the adoption of a national plan and a bill envisioning the establishment of an agency in charge of promoting the formalization of this sector. While regretting that none of those documents refer to the labour conditions of miners or to the prohibition of the use of children in the mines, it is nevertheless the Special Rapporteur’s opinion that formalization is an effective tool to combat both forced labour and children working in the mines (paras 39- 41).Illegal mining has brought with it trafficking in girls and young women from impoverished rural regions of the Amazon recruited and coerced into prostitution in brothels opened in mining shanty towns. Once in the brothel, victims are deprived of their identity documents and are forced to prostitute themselves. They are not allowed to enter or leave the premises at any time, are prohibited from leaving the dormitory (even to buy food) outside of working hours during which they are not allowed to use the bathroom or eat. If they break any of the rules of the brothel, they are liable to a fine. The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government ensure that mining concessions contain a clear prohibition of forced labour and child slavery; take effective steps towards the formalization of all artisanal mining activities as a means to prevent forced labour and children working in mines (paras 42, 73).
Domestic servitude: According to the most recent census on households carried out in Peru, the number of domestic workers is estimated to be 300,000, of whom 110,000 are under 18 years of Age. Women and young girls account for a higher proportion of domestic workers, who, mainly out of poverty or conditions of violence at home, migrate from the highlands and the jungle to the coastal areas in the hope of earning a living, financing their studies or helping out their families These domestic workers are the ones often isolated by being prohibited from leaving their employer’s house or maintaining contact with family and friends. They are therefore the most at risk of abuse. Domestic workers were merely given a mattress to sleep on the floor in a corner of the house, forced to work for excessively long hours, not given adequate remuneration and rest breaks, or punished by depriving them, and in some cases their children, of food. (paras 44- 46).
Because of the dire economic situation that people in the rural areas face, it is a common practice for parents to give their children away to relatives, neighbours or even complete strangers, who are regarded as godparents, in the hope of a better future for the children, with the understanding that the children will go to school and, in return for household chores, some payment. These children end up being given an excessive workload that not only prevents them from attending school or doing homework, but is also detrimental to their development and health. Their average working day is not less than nine hours long and they remain on-call 24 hours a day; the maximum number of hours for child domestic work allowed by the Child and Adolescent Code is four per day (a total of 24 hours per week for children aged under 14 years, and six per day, a total of 36 hours per week for those aged between 15 and 17). Long working days involve a variety of heavy tasks for child domestic workers, namely looking after other children, cleaning, washing, ironing, cooking, shopping, watering the garden and looking after pets (para 48).
Some child domestic workers are held in close custody and kept in isolation by their employers. Their parents do not even know of their whereabouts, since they are prohibited from having social contacts and friends. Many young child domestic workers do not receive any payment and do not even question the lack of payment, thinking that they are only helping out around the house. They have no possibility of defending their rights. According to information received, when subjected to verbal or physical abuse, they believe that their employers’ reactions are to mistakes they have made and are therefore justified. Moreover, their employers expect them to be grateful. Child domestic workers who are allowed to go
to night school usually do not even complete their education because of their excessive workload. Supreme Decree No. 007-2006 recognizes domestic work as a hazardous type of work for children because of the working conditions involved. She is deeply concerned over the working conditions of child domestic workers leading to them being in domestic servitude, which she considers to be a contemporary form of slavery (paras 49, 50).
The Special Rapporteur urges the Government to adopt specific provisions to criminalize domestic servitude and to amend the Domestic Workers Act: establishing effective penalties for the violation of the rights of domestic workers, including child domestic workers, and ensuring that perpetrators are prosecuted and punished with due diligence and that victims obtain reparation for material and moral prejudice from perpetrators. The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government strengthen institutional support for domestic workers by creating a specific Government department responsible for implementing the law and guaranteeing domestic workers their rights; establish, as a matter of priority, separate specialized departments and units at both regional and local levels with the responsibility of investigating issues relating to child domestic work in different areas; and ensure that those responsible for the monitoring of working conditions implement the law strictly (paras 74, 75).
Worst forms of child labour and economic exploitation of children: According to ILO, approximately 3.3 million children are involved in economic activities in Peru, including children working for their families and receiving no remuneration. Among those, the Special Rapporteur was alarmed by the increasing number of children affected by the worst forms of child labour in various sectors, reportedly involved in washing motor vehicles, loading and unloading heavy items in markets, collecting chestnuts and Brazil nuts, scavenging, working in brick-making factories and sawmills, begging in the streets, child prostitution and even picking coca leaves. Children as young as five years of age were said to be preferred for some types of work requiring their light weight or their tiny hands, for instance, to step on bricks and turn them around for drying without damaging them in home brick-making factories, to reach and wash every nook and cranny of motorbikes used as taxis, or to pick coca leaves. The Special Rapporteur notes that, in some of the above-mentioned instances, elements such as coercion, fear, restriction on freedom of movement and complete dependence on the employer are present, amounting to contemporary forms of slavery. In most cases, children are either abandoned or given away by their parents in the hope that the children may have a chance to study and find a better future. According to the 2001 National Survey of Households, one of every five children aged between 6 and 17 years that were working were excluded from the education system for various reasons, including poverty and inaccessibility or unavailability of schools, particularly in rural areas. Cases of minors who had been captured and/or recruited for military service by the military forces in some regions or by Sendero Luminoso were also reported. With concern that no data on or register of working children exists, a situation explained by the authorities to be due to the fact that employers did not register child workers (paras 51, 52).
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government take effective and urgent measures to stop children from remaining in the worst forms of child labour, economic exploitation and domestic servitude, and to provide children with appropriate assistance, including through well- resourced shelters, to ensure their social reintegration; Ensure that education is made accessible and affordable for all children by taking all steps necessary to increase, in particular in rural and remote areas, the number of qualified teachers providing adequate educational infrastructure, and ensuring bilingual teaching with flexible timetables and curricula suited to children’s needs, as well as adequate transportation to and from schools; Expand efforts to work with families, teachers, religious leaders and community organizations to end the worst forms of child labour and domestic servitude. Families, particularly in rural areas, should be informed about the dangers of handing over their children to for domestic or for any other type of work to third parties; Take additional measures to effectively reduce poverty, specifically targeting children who are at risk of or who are already engaged in the worst forms of child labour, are being economically exploited or are in domestic servitude; such measures should include direct assistance to marginalized families, for instance, through conditional cash-transfer programmes; Promote changes of attitude and behaviour in families with a view to reduce violence within the family, which may be one of the reasons for many children leaving their homes with intention to work and not returning, even when they know they are being exploited (para 76).
The Special Rapporteur also recommends that the Government: put in place a monitoring system of the mandatory registration of children working, to ensure that employers and parents duly comply with the requirement of registering working children in accordance with article 52 of the Code of Children and Adolescents; Ensure that the National Registry of Identification and Civil Status and its regional and municipal offices take effective measures to register and issue identity documents to all children, especially those working and who are at risk of abuse or exploitation;Take effective measures to ensure that children under the age of 18 years are not recruited into the military force or into armed groups, in accordance with international standards, and closely monitor the ways and means by which the age of recruitment is verified (para 77).
Unregistered children: The Special Rapporteur was informed that many children still lack proper birth registration. The Special Rapporteur wishes to highlight that, without the recognition of identity assigned by birth registration, a child risks not only statelessness, but is also placed in an extremely vulnerable position, since children without identification documents have no access to any of the services, including education and health, and are at risk of becoming victims of trafficking for sexual or labour exploitation. The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government of Peru work in partnership with UNICEF to ensure birth registration (paras 64, 79).
No social services for children: The Special Rapporteur is concerned about the absence of a local integrated protection system to provide social services to children. Furthermore, no social policy has been developed for children to address the root causes of why the children end up in child labour, even the worst forms. There is a lack of attention to the implementation of programmes in an articulated fashion. Education and health services are not available in many rural and remote areas, where there are no bilingual schools or even no school at all (para 69).
Country visit: 9 – 15 September 1996
Report published: 19 February 1998
No mentions of children's rights
Country visit: 26 January – 6 February 1998
Report published: 11 January 1999
The Working Group identified the following concerns:
Recruitment into the armed forces: Commission resolution 1997/50 enables the Working Group to examine cases of deprivation of liberty other than “arrest” or “detention”. Such is the case of the “levies” that have frequently been reported to the Group. The term applies to forced recruitment by the Armed Forces of young men allegedly old enough to perform compulsory military service. Complaints have been made that minors under 18 years of age and even children under 15 years of age have been conscripted in this manner. Levies are made easier because subversive groups have destroyed public records, which makes it difficult to prove one's age, although cases have also been reported in which the military were the ones who destroyed the records. (para 119)
Judicial Defence: In Opinion No. 13/1995, concerning the case of the minor Alfredo Carrillo, the Working Group noted that the accused had had no defence and, even though the lawyer had been present during the interrogation, he had been totally passive and did not participate in any other part of the proceedings. (para 143)
Criminal Responsibility: Decree-Law No. 25.564 of June 1992 lowered the minimum age of criminal responsibility for terrorist offences from 18 to 15 years, which, in the Working Group's opinion, is “too young” for the beginning of criminal responsibility and is inconsistent with principle 4.1 of the Beijing Rules. The courts made the Decree-Law applicable to the offence of treason, which is contrary to its provisions, as stated by the Working Group in its Opinion No. 13/1995. It was brought to the attention of the Group that many minors were given life sentences, contrary to principle 17 of the Beijing Rules on proportionality and the needs of juveniles. (para 147)
That Decree-Law was effectively repealed by the 1993 Code on Children and Adolescents and later expressly repealed by Decree-Law 26.447 of 1995. However, over 40 juveniles under 18 years of age have been tried or sentenced. The authorities have tried to blame a lack of documentation resulting from the destruction of public records by subversive elements. Regrettably, no other means were used to verify the ages of the persons concerned. For example, Ruth Karina Alvis was abducted by Shining Path; she was detained, tortured and sexually assaulted in military premises; she was later sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment for acts of treason allegedly committed during the period of her abduction. On 6 March 1997, the Supreme Council of Military Justice overturned the sentence, but, despite proof that the alleged acts took place when she was 17 years old, it ordered that she should be tried for the offence of terrorism. In January 1998, the trial had still not begun. (para 148)
The Working Group takes notes with satisfaction of the tremendous strides that have been made in the last few years, including the right of an accused person to legal counsel from the moment he is arrested; the reinstatement, albeit restricted, of the right to habeas corpus; the repeal of laws on the criminal responsibility of minors under 18 years of age; the recognition of the right to counsel of one’s own choosing and the right of defence lawyers to defend more than one person at a time; less frequent use of torture and enforced disappearances; and the end of “faceless justice”. The Working Group is pleased with this progress and encourages it, despite some unjustified regressive steps, such as the May and June 1998 laws and the sentencing of lawyers who defended persons charged with terrorist crimes. (para 173)
Country visit: 3 – 15 March 2003
Report published: 11 February 2004
Mr. Kothari identified the following concerns:
Consequences of overcrowded housing: In Belen, one of the poorest communities in Iquitos, residents live in overcrowded housing in very precarious conditions, elevated from the ground due to constant flooding from the Amazon and the Nanay rivers. As 50 to 60 per cent of the residents have no access to water and sanitation services, water-borne diseases are rampant, affecting children the most. The infant mortality rate in Iquitos is 4.9 per cent. Furthermore, the river water is reportedly contaminated with mercury from the companies dredging for gold on the other side of the Nanay river in Brazil. The poor housing and living conditions and lack of employment have also led to a number of other social problems in Belen, such as crime and youth delinquency, prostitution, street children, sexual abuse of women and children, and the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Efforts by local and regional authorities: From the meetings with the local authorities and regional government, it is clear that they are committed to improve the lives of the communities, particularly women and children, and have designed targeted programmes on housing. However, they lack the necessary means and resources, particularly from the central Government. Despite Loreto being the largest and one of the poorest regions, only 2.4 per cent of the central Government’s budget is allocated to Loreto. The Special Rapporteur was invited to a civil society meeting in which representatives of the community presented five issues which they felt were priorities: (a) lack of housing infrastructure; (b) lack of basic services such as water and sanitation; (c) lack of legal tenure which they could use as a collateral to access credit or to have a secure home; (d) lack of access to credit; and (e) lack of safety and security. (para 29)
Health: The Special Rapporteur would also like to express concern with the neglect by governmental authorities of the community of La Oroya in the central Andes, which has been facing a serious health crisis due to pollution from the metallurgical complex belonging to a multinational company. According to a study carried out by the Ministry of Health in 1999, the effects of lead poisoning in the area was such that 18.3 per cent of the children studied should have been urgently admitted to a hospital and their homes subjected to environmental assessment. Further, 67 per cent of the children studied should have received medical evaluation and observation. The metallurgical activities have also affected other economic activities due to contamination of water and soil erosion. From the testimonies presented to the Special Rapporteur by affected people from both the Old and New Town of La Oroya, it was clear that there is an urgent need for government at all levels to respond to the grave problem of poverty and environmental conditions that have a severe impact on the right to housing, health and water of the community. (para 44)
Country visit: 6 – 15 June 2004
Report published: 4 February 2005
Mr. Hunt identified the following concerns:
Health: Peru has the highest incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis in Latin America, with 100 cases per 100,000 population, compared with the regional average of 17 cases, and a high incidence of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. The incidence of HIV/AIDS in Peru is increasing, and an estimated 72,000 people are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Malaria is widespread, in particular in the jungle (selva) region, and Peru’s population is vulnerable to other infectious diseases such as leishmaniasis. Thirty per cent of the urban population and 60 per cent of the rural population still do not have access to safe water or adequate sanitation. Environmental determinants of health, such as unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, as well as air and water pollution, exert a heavy toll on the health of the population. Malnutrition affects the health of up to 25 per cent of children under the age of 5, while obesity is also an increasing problem, especially in urban areas. Between 1980 and 2000, internal conflict led to the death or disappearance of an estimated 69,000 people, caused widespread psychosocial health problems, and contributed to a culture of violence that continues to have an impact on health in Peru today (Paragraph 15).
Poverty: While Peru is a middle-income country, and despite its recent robust macroeconomic performance, 49 per cent of Peru’s population lives in poverty, and 18.1 per cent in extreme poverty.8 Moreover, there are striking inequalities between different regions: in the Andean region (sierra), for example, 70 per cent live in poverty and 35 per cent in extreme poverty. Health disparities between regions are also dramatic. For example, while in metropolitan Lima the infant mortality rate is 17 per 1,000 live births, this figure rises to 71 and 84 in the impoverished rural departments of Huancavelica and Cuzco, respectively. In 2000, the infant mortality rate was 28 per 1,000 live births in urban areas while it was 60 per 1,000 in rural areas. While there has been progress at the national level in reducing maternal mortality, and while chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years of age has been stable in recent years, the national aggregates mask growing inequalities: the situation on both counts has worsened for the poorest quintiles in the country, and chronic malnutrition has reached around 75-80 per cent in rural areas. For a middle-income country, this is an astonishing state of affairs. (para 17)
In addition to the general framework provided by the Acuerdo and the Sectoral Plan, the Government of Peru has adopted a range of new health-related policies and initiatives in recent years which impact the right to health and address the contexts of poverty and discrimination. One policy of particular importance is the Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS) introduced in 2001, which is a subsidy covering the cost of particular health-care interventions and which is targeted towards the poor and specific groups, such as infants, children, pregnant women and adults in emergency situations. SIS is a key strategy for improving access to care by removing economic barriers to care. As such, there is much to recommend it from the point of view of the right to health - it corresponds with the right to health requirement that health-care goods, services and facilities are economically accessible. Nevertheless, SIS does have some shortcomings, including inadequate coverage and funding. A significant proportion of people living in poverty and extreme poverty, including women and children under 18, are reportedly not affiliated to SIS. Also, unfortunately, SIS fails to cover some important health interventions, such as mental health care. Moreover, while SIS targets the poor, it targets the poor who have geographic access to health-care facilities in the first place, while in many rural areas, geographic inaccessibility of services remains an obstacle to accessing care.21 Geographic accessibility of health-care facilities, goods and services is also a fundamental dimension of the right to health, and one which the Government needs to urgently and innovatively address. (para 25)
Sexual and Reproductive Health: Particular population groups are at risk in the context of specific health problems. Women and adolescents are especially vulnerable in the context of sexual and reproductive health. The maternal mortality ratio is reported to be 185 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2000, one of the highest in the Latin American region. The incidence of unsafe abortion and teenage pregnancy are also unacceptably high. Women are also particularly vulnerable to violence: an estimated 41 per cent of women have been mistreated or subjected to physical aggression by their husbands or partners. The great majority of people living with HIV/AIDS lack access to anti retroviral drugs. Certain groups of people, including those with mental disabilities and people living with HIV/AIDS, face various forms of discrimination which are rooted deeply in related stigmatization and prejudices. Indigenous populations have inferior access to health-care services, including on account of linguistic and cultural barriers. (para 18)
The Special Rapporteur has highlighted some of his concerns in relation to sexual and reproductive health in Peru elsewhere in this report. He is deeply concerned by the extremely high rates of maternal mortality, the second main cause of which is unsafe abortion. He stresses the importance of ensuring access - in particular for poor populations - to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, pre- and post-natal care, emergency obstetric services and access to information. In particular, women should have access to quality services for the management of complications, whether arising from pregnancy, childbirth or abortion. Punitive legal provisions against women who undergo abortions, as well as against the relevant service providers, should be removed. (para 72)
Similarly, the Special Rapporteur recommends that a comprehensive, intersectoral policy on sexual and reproductive health should be developed for - and with the participation of - adolescents. The policy should be grounded in international human rights law and should recognize, in particular, the right of adolescents to access information, education and user-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, including on family planning and contraceptives, risks related to early pregnancy, and prevention of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS. The right of adolescents to privacy, confidentiality and informed consent should be protected. (para 75)
Environmental health problems: Environmental health problems arise from a lack of access to safe water, inadequate sanitation and contamination by extractive industries, and affect the health and livelihoods of communities across Peru. These problems disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, including people living in poverty, indigenous peoples and children. The Special Rapporteur visited several areas affected by such problems, including Belen municipality (Iquitos, Department of Loreto), Callao and San Mateo de Huanchor (Department of Lima), where he met with local authorities, non-government organizations and affected communities. He makes the following observations:
(a) Belen. The population of Belen has dramatically increased in the last two decades on account of rural to urban migration. The residents of Belen are among the poorest in Iquitos and live in overcrowded conditions in housing elevated above the flood plain of the river Nanay. Over half of Belen’s residents lack access to safe water and adequate sanitation and the river is contaminated with mercury due to activities of companies dredging for gold upstream. The incidence of water-borne diseases and acute diarrhoea is high and particularly affects infants and children. The infant mortality rate in Belen is high - 4.9 per cent. The Special Rapporteur was impressed with the commitment of the municipal and regional authorities, and local civil society, to redress these, and other, poverty-related problems. Local authorities have developed plans to build sanitation facilities in the area, but there is as yet no budgetary allocation to support implementation;
(b) Callao. Callao has played an historic role in Peru’s economic development: most of Peru’s exports, including mineral products, leave the country through its port. Transportation of lead ore to and from, and storage in, large depots in Callao has resulted in lead poisoning. In a recent survey, over 50 per cent of local children were found to have over twice the permissible limit of blood lead concentration defined by WHO. Most recently, these activities have been undertaken by private sector companies, following privatization of State mining enterprises during the 1990s. A representative from two of these companies informed the Special Rapporteur that storage and transportation of lead has been improved, although he noted that pilfering of ore during transportation still occurs and contributes to contamination. Others informed the Special Rapporteur that the depots, including the movement of materials in and out, were still causing local contamination. At any rate, studies suggest that the levels of lead in children’s blood remain dangerously high;
(c) San Mateo de Huanchor. The Special Rapporteur was informed about the impact of toxic mine tailings, including arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium, on the health of the community of San Mateo, including indigenous peoples and children. While mining activities are currently halted, contaminating waste in the tailing pit has not been removed, despite an order to this effect made by the Government to the concerned company (Wiese Sudameris). Since domestic remedies have not been forthcoming, this case was submitted as part of a broader complaint by CONOMACI to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which has requested precautionary measures and decided, in November 2004, that this case is admissible and invited the parties to find a friendly settlement. (para 52)
The right to health, as well as the rights to water and adequate housing, give rise to obligations on States to ensure an adequate supply of safe and potable water and adequate sanitation. The right to health also gives rise to an obligation to prevent and reduce the population’s exposure to harmful substances that impact upon health. Environmental contamination, as well as inadequate water and sanitation, can have a particularly severe impact on children, and hinder their enjoyment of the right to health. In particular, the Special Rapporteur notes that the Government of Peru not only has an obligation to respect the right to health, but to protect this right against harm by third parties. As a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Peru has an obligation to “combat disease ... through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision ... of clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution (art. 24 (2) (c))”. As a State party to ILO Convention No. 169, the State also has a particular obligation to protect the right to health and other related human rights of indigenous peoples. (para 54)
Mental Health Problems: Two decades of internal armed conflict (1980-2000) gave rise to a range of human rights violations and other abuses, including extrajudicial executions; forced disappearances; and torture and violence, including sexual violence and rape perpetrated against women and girls. The conflict’s legacy includes high levels of trauma and related psychosocial problems that continue to burden many Peruvians to this day. (para 68)
Country visit: 20 – 30 September 2004
Report published: 13 January 2005
Ms. Rodríguez Pizarro identified the following concerns:
Identity Documents: The Special Rapporteur has borne in mind in her work the rural exodus and the internal displacement which have had a huge impact on the rural population of Peru since the early 1980s. The NGOs that helped plan her visit were of the view that the situation of persons displaced internally by the domestic armed conflict between 1980 and 2000 needed to be considered in order to understand Peruvian emigration. The Special Rapporteur observed, however, that the resources of this vulnerable group were so limited that they could not even consider the possibility of emigrating. The majority of this displaced population is concentrated in shanty towns around Lima, which are also the very poorest districts, with poor education and health services and no access to adequate housing. The Special Rapporteur drew attention to the risks involved when so many internally displaced persons, and in some cases their children, had no identity documents. (para 20)
The Special Rapporteur observed the professionalism of the senior officials of the Department of Migration and Naturalization but believes that its human and material resources need to be strengthened in order to improve its activities in migration control, the detection of counterfeit passports and the provision of in-service training courses for its personnel. The Special Rapporteur urges the National Registry of Identity and Civil Status to continue its initiatives to ensure that no part of the population, including internally displaced persons and their children, is undocumented. The Special Rapporteur considers that it is important to develop a system of documentation for minors. The work done by the National Registry, which, according to information provided by the Government, is in the initial stages of providing all Peruvian children with a national identity document, is astep in the right direction. (para 79)
Migrant Workers: The Special Rapporteur visited the town of Tacna, the destination of Peruvians from the neighbouring high Andean regions looking for jobs; if they do not find work there, they go to Arica or Iquique in Chile. From Tacna, the nearest border crossing is at Santa Rosa (Peru)-Chacalluta (Chile); between 8,000 and 9,000 persons pass through it daily, the majority of whom are retail traders who return to Peru the same day. The rest are unskilled workers who are hired at the bus terminal in Arica for work in domestic service, construction or agriculture. The women and girls are employed in domestic service for about US$ 100 per month, and, generally speaking, return to Tacna at weekends. During the week, some of them leave their children in lodgings while others take them with them. According to testimonies compiled during the visit, migrant workers from Peru do not lodge complaints despite the frequent abuses and aggression they experience in order to be able to continue going to Chile to work. The Special Rapporteur heard testimonies from Peruvian migrant workers in an irregular administrative situation working in domestic service, machine shops and farms in Arica. (para 26)
The Ombudsman’s Office has been informed of cases of young Peruvian girls being ill-treated and sexually abused (in Switzerland); Peruvians deprived of liberty and not given legal assistance (in Colombia) or refused humanitarian assistance by the consulate (in Ecuador); non-compliance with the duty of consular protection (in Switzerland); ill-treatment and discrimination in attending to Peruvians in consular offices, processing delays, high consular fees and a lack of interest in the situation of Peruvians living within the jurisdiction of the consulates (in Argentina and Switzerland); and irregularities in the election of the advisory councils (in Spain and Switzerland). (para 37)
The Tacna Prosecutor’s Office reported the existence of employment agencies in the city which used bogus offers of domestic employment to recruit young women who would subsequently be forced into prostitution in Arica and Iquique (both in Chile). The Special Rapporteur was also informed about disappearances of children in rural areas such as Ayacucho, as reported by the Asociación Bartolomé Aripaylla early in 2004. (para 47)
Child Trafficking: The Department of Migration and Naturalization, in conjunction with the Aliens Police, plays a significant role in breaking up criminal networks of migrant-smugglers who use Peru en route to the United States, and contributes to preventing trafficking in children by detecting false documents. (para 40)
Country visit: 29 January – 2 February 2007
Report published: 4 February 2008
No mentions of Children's rights
- Special Rapporteur (SR) on the right to food (requested in 2003)
- SR on freedom of opinion and expression (requested in 2004)
- SR on adequate housing (requested in 2007 for follow-up visit)
- Independent Expert on water (requested in 2009)
- WG on discrimination against women in law and in practice (requested in 2013)
- WG on enforced disappearances (requested in 2013)
- SR on summary executions
- SR on indigenous peoples (second two weeks of November 2013)