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[Report] Ambassador of Peru to Canada says country is open to dialogue

In response to allegations of human rights violations in his country, Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, Ambassador of Peru to Canada, says that his government is open to dialogue and committed to verifying the facts.

A man.

In an interview with Radio Canada International (RCI), the Peruvian Ambassador to Canada, Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, said that his country's transitional government prioritizes implementing policies that meet the social demands of the population.

Photo: RCI/Captura de pantalla / Paloma Martinez-Mendez

Paloma Martínez Méndez

Since early December 2022, following the impeachment and arrest of leftist President Pedro Castillo, Peru has been plunged into protests and road blockades.

So far the total number of deaths is estimated at 56, seventeen of which occurred on Monday, January 10, in the city of Juliaca, Puno. There have also been 900 injured civilians.

This Friday, the transitional government led by Dina Boluarte ordered intervention by the police and the army to clear the 88 road barricades in 8 of Peru's 25 regions.

It was in this context that we spoke exclusively with the Ambassador of Peru to Canada, Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, who stated that his government deeply regrets the loss of human lives and has demonstrated a firm commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights.

The ambassador also said that Lima is willing to provide all possible assistance in order to verify what really happened. There is transparency, openness and accountability, he said. 

Watch the full interview (in Spanish):

Regarding the guarantees that the Peruvian government can provide to its population and the international community to remedy the inequitable wealth distribution, as well as to address food and physical insecurity, Ambassador Rodríguez Arnillas said that the priority is lifting the roadblocks.

What we need is for the road blockades to stop so that we can attend to precisely what you mentioned, so that fuel, gas, food and medicine can get through. [...] President Boluarte has been very clear in all her speeches about the need for dialogue. The Peruvian State, the Peruvian government is ready to sit down at the table and talk.
A quote from Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, Peruvian ambassador to Canada

The diplomat said that the population has been invited to express itself and to demonstrate, but that unfortunately so far it has not been possible to establish this dialogue.

Regarding the calls to investigate the deaths and injuries that occurred during the protests, Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas pointed out that there is a separation of powers in Peru and that it is the Attorney General's Office that is conducting the investigations.

The Peruvian government is open to providing all the information required by the authorities of the Attorney General's Office. [...] Following the loss of human lives, which we deeply regret, the government reacted immediately by inviting the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and providing all possible assistance in order to conduct the investigations.
A quote from Roberto Rodríguez Arnillas, Peruvian Ambassador to Canada

The diplomat also stated that his government has established a multisectoral commission to contact the relatives of the deceased in order to provide them with all possible assistance, as well as the injured persons in order to provide them with proper treatment and to follow up on the status of their conditions.

Rodríguez Arnillas also said that he had met with the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, who has expressed her concerns about what is happening in his country. The ambassador said he has provided her with ample and comprehensive information about everything his government has done.

Amnesty International logo.

Amnesty International Canada has teams dedicated to monitoring the state of human rights around the world, including in Latin America.

Photo: Getty Images / AFP / Isaac Lawrence

In fact, as the ambassador says, the Anglophone and Francophone sections of Amnesty International (AI) Canada met with him at the Peruvian embassy on January 19 to express deep concern about human rights violations in the context of the violent repression of protests in Peru by state security forces, the organization's Kathy Price told RCI.

The head of campaigns in Latin America said dozens of people have been killed and more than 900 civilians injured since the protests began in December.

Amnesty International also denounced attacks on journalists covering the protests and the violent police raid on the University of San Marcos on January 21.

Amnesty International Canada is deeply concerned by shocking images of police brutality and dangerous and stigmatizing public statements by Peruvian authorities about people from historically marginalized rural communities and indigenous peoples peacefully protesting to express their legitimate discontent, falsely accusing them of being terrorists and criminals.
A quote from Kathy Price, Head of Latin America Campaigns at Amnesty International Canada

Thousands of Amnesty International supporters sent messages to the Peruvian authorities calling for accountability for the growing number of civilian deaths and injuries, protection of the right to peaceful protest and an end to indiscriminate and brutal state repression, which will only exacerbate the political crisis in Peru.

Screen capture.

A letter from the Quebec-Peru Solidarity Collective addressed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was published in the Le Soleil newspaper on January 27.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Paloma Martinez-Mendez

In a letter addressed to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Alonso Gamarra, PhD Candidate in Anthropology at McGill University in Montreal, Rossio Motta-Ochoa, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Montreal, and Lucia Flores Echaiz, Lawyer and Master of Laws Candidate at the University of Quebec in Montreal, as part of the Quebec-Peru Solidarity Collective, urge the Canadian government to denounce the violent repression of demonstrators in Peru by the government of Dina Boluarte.

We urge the Canadian government to reject any human rights violations committed by the Boluarte government in Peru and to add its voice to the calls of the international community for an end to the violent repression of civilians exercising their right to protest.
A quote from Excerpt from the open letter

Alfonso Gamarra, Rossio Motta-Ochoa and Lucía Flores Echaiz sign on behalf of 195 other signatories of the letter.

Note: this report is also available in Spanish

Paloma Martínez Méndez