chevron-up sitemap chevron-up2 youtube share-alt chevron-down share mail download home alarm search menu link cross play arrow-right facebook twitter youtube2 wordpress soundcloud podcast video microsite report collection toolkit whatsapp thinkpiece storify

Public sign-on letter: Stop the criminalisation of public protest in Peru!

View in full at DHUMA

An international sign-on letter endorsed by over 130 organisations on 5 continents was launched in July 2018 as part of the campaign by the Center, DHUMA and global allies to confront criminalisation in Peru. You can find the text and full list of signatories here.




To: the Supreme Court of Justice Peru

To: the Peruvian Government

To: the mining corporations


The undersigned, national and international civil society organisations, address you in solidarity with the Aymara communities of Southern Peru, who have organised to defend their natural wealth, their territory, their water and the health of their people against the various mining projects established in the region.

We are disturbed to note a growing tendency towards deepening criminalisation. The abusive imposition of penal processes against social organisation leaders and communities via a distorted use of criminal offenses (such as aggravatedextortion and Indirect Perpetration) is particularly worrying. Such wilful misinterpretation of the law seeks to equate social organisations with criminal groups and their spokespeople with instigators of crime. As such it represents a grave attack on human rights; on freedom of expression and on social mobilisation.



We refer here specifically to the charges related to the socio-environmental conflict known as the ‘Aymarazo’ of 2011. During said conflict, communities from the district of Puno took action against the Santa Ana mine, a project under the ownership of Canadian mining corporation, Bear Creek. The protest articulated demands to cancel the project, due to the risks of contamination to water associated with the operation (including risks to Lake Titicaca which straddles Peru and Bolivia). It also called out the lack of consultation of communities, the illegality of the project as well as the lack of transparency and bad faith in which the corporation acted in relation to the communities. The protest resulted in a fierce repression at the hands of the Peruvian State and, ultimately, in the cancelation of the project. However, the Prosecution of Puno initiated criminal processes against the main spokespersons, which resulted in Walter Aduviri – the main spokesperson – being charged with 7 years in prison and fined 2 million Soles (approximately US$600,000, the equivalent of 2,500 minimum wages in Peru).

In December 2017, the tribunals of Puno ratified the sentence against Aduviri and ordered his detention. Upon learning of the ruling, Aduviri went into hiding. His defense presented a Cassation Appeal to overturn the sentence, which was accepted in January 2018. Aduviri’s case is currently being considered by the Supreme Court of Justice of Peru.

We consider that, if the Supreme Court ratify the sentence against Aduviri, a dangerous judicial precedent will be set that would undermine the defense of human rights and of territory in Peru. This concern relates to the fact that Aduviri stands accused of being an ‘Indirect Perpetrator’ behind the alleged unrest that took place during the Aymarazo – in other words, of having ordered others to commit crimes on his behalf. Such a ruling would place others at risk of being considered as ‘Indirect Perpetrators’ regardless of any lack of material evidence and where the only ‘crime’ is that of being spokesperson for an organisation or community. Furthermore, during the process and because of a deeply racist attitude, Aduviri was denied indigenous rights owed to him as a member of the broader Aymara community. These special rights include, but are not limited to, the right to territory; to consultation; to identity and to autonomy. The judges ruled that, in Aduviri’s case, special indigenous rights could not be taken into account since he had undertaken a university education.


1.- We urge the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice of Peru to resolve Walter Aduviri’s case, taking into account internationally recognised rights of indigenous peoples, as upheld in binding international treaties that have been ratified by the Peruvian State. These treaties include the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 169, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Upon this legitimate legal basis, we consider that the sentence taken against Aduviri, who did nothing more than demand that the rights of the Aymaran people be respected, must be definitively overturned.

2.- We firmly reject the arbitrary use of penal figures such as ‘Indirect Perpetrator’ (used against former President Alberto Fujimori and Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman for violations of human rights) as a pretext for persecuting members of social organisations and of community members. We consider it to be of vital importance that the State respect the decision of communities to reject mining projects in their territory in legitimate defense of their rights and that this be exercised without fear of being subject to persecution or stigmatization.

3.- We demand that the transnational Bear Creek Mining Corporation and the mining corporations that are mainly concentrated in the South of Peru respect the rights and decisions of communities in relation to the Santa Ana project and of any other mining project in the country. International Civil Society Organisations are monitoring these cases, in solidarity with affected communities and the upholding of their rights.

We recognise that Walter Aduviri’s case is not an isolated one. Rather, it forms part of a pro-mining agenda in Peru. Another example of this architecture is the constant declaration of States of Emergency in mining zones. These States of Emergency suspend the most fundamental constitutional rights of the population, bringing with it political repression; criminalisation and the general stigmatization of social organisations and communities. As in Peru, across the continent, multinationals enter territories with the sole intention of converting common goods into financialised resources, leaving communities and ecosystems destroyed in their wake. Where there is resistance, the state systematically represses, imprisons and even creates the conditions for the assassination of defenders.

These multinational corporations also turn to international tribunals to sue countries for compensation when they feel that their profits have been put at risk in any way. In 2014, Following on from the Aymarazo, Bear Creek Mining Corporation sued Peru in the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank. The World Bank ruled in Bear Creek’ favour, ordering Peru to pay the transnational the sum of US$18.2 million. This amount, added to the interests and legal costs incurred by the Peruvian State, have totalled a skyrocketing US$37 million.

These facts reveal once again – and more urgently – the need to mobilise globally to pressure states to respect and enforce human rights and territory. It also echoes the importance of putting in place an internationally binding legal framework so that transnational corporations can be made accountable for their actions around the world, bringing to an end the impunity that keeps them and their narrow interests safe.



1.  Victor Yto Coari – Presidente Comunidad Ccampesina Sucasco_ Coata
2. Eloy peralta chambi – Presidente Comunidad Campesina San Antonio de Esquerica_ Huancane
3. Patricio Payohuanca Utazú – Presidente Comunidad Ccampesina Jatucachi_ Pichacani
4. Felix Suasaca Suasaca – Presidente Frente de Defensa en Contra de la Contaminación del rio Coata
5. Amanda Huayta Mamani – Alcaldesa M.C.P. Ccapuna Sandia
6. Raul Camapana Hancco – Presidente Comunidad Campesina Cachuyo_ Orurillo
7. Juan Sanca Mamani – Presidente Comunidad Potoni
8. Pablo Anco Flores – Teniente Gobernador de la Comunidad Qorihuara.
9. Rolando Toro Mamani – Teniente Gobernador de la Comunidad Jirigachi.
10. Celso Belizario Quispe – M.V.Z. Veterinario Del Perú
11. Patricio Illacutipa Illacutipa – Presidente del Frente de Defensa Recursos de la Región de Puno
12. Roberto Ccori Ttacca – Presidente del Frente de Defensa de los Recursos Naturales y Medio Ambiente del Distrito de Nuñoa – Melgar
13. Salvador Sanchez Quispe – Presidente del Centro Poblado de Larimayo Antauta
14. Aurelio Muna Pacheco – Presidente de la Unica Rondas Campesinas Ayaviri Melgar
15. Mario Raúl A. – Presidente de JASS
16. Timoteo Vlica M. – Presidente de la Comunidad Ucupisaj Pujio
17. Permigio Catacora Huaraya – Presidente de la Comunidad Campesina Pampahui
18. Javier Eli Sandoval Calderón – Secretario de Tenientes del Centro Poblado de Santa Cruz de Cajnajo


19. Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente – DHUMA, Perú
20. RED MUQUI – Perú
21. Red Muqui Sur – Perú
22. Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras – DHSF, Perú
23. Instituto de Estudios de las Culturas Andinas – IDECA, Perú
24. Centro para la Democracia, Bolivia
25. Movimiento Mesoamericano contra el Modelo extractivo Minero -M4
26. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú – PUCP
27. CEDAL- Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo, Perú
28. Asamblea Argentina mejor sin TLC, Argentina
29. Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM), Ecuador
30. Colectivo Voces Ecológicas COVEC, Panamá
31. Grupo de Pesquisa e Extensão Política, Economia, Mineração, Ambiente e Sociedade (PoEMAS) – Brasil
32. Tlachinollan Human Rights Center – Guerrero, México
33. Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida, Colombia
34. Red de Comités Ambientales del Tolima-Colombia
35. La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental – LAVIDA , Mexico
36. Centre Oecuménique des Droits Humains (CEDH)/Haiti
37. Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo”, Colombia
38. Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos – CEDHU
39. Asociación Marianista de Acción Social – AMAS – Otusco, Perú
40. Plataforma Boliviana Frente al Cambio Climático
41. Instituto Natura, Perú
42. Instituto de Salud MSC “Cristóforis Denéke” – ISDEN
43. Circulo de Estudios Críticos del Derecho, México
44. Observatorio Latinoamericano de Geopolítica, UNAM, México
45. Diálogo 2000-Jubileo Sur Argentina
46. México: Bia´lii, Asesoría e Investigación, A.C.
47. Grupo Tacuba – México.
48. Movimiento Mundial por los Bosques Tropicales (WRM) – Internacional
50. Foro Ciudadano de Participación por la Justicia y los Derechos Humanos
51. Instituto EQUIT – Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Global, Brasil
52. Procesos Integrales para la Autogestión de los Pueblos, México
53. Otros Mundos/Chiapas, México
54. El Centro de Estudios de la Región Cuicateca (CEREC), México
55. Bios Iguana A.C., México
56. Asociación por la Protección de la Tierra y el Bienestar de Epazoyucan A.C./ México.
57. Comunidad de Juristas Akubadaura, juristas indígenas de Colombia.
58. Asociacion de Maestros de Educación Rural de Guatemala
59. Frente Amplio Opositor a Minera San Xavier (FAO). San Luis Potosí, México.


60. Justiça Ambiental / Friends of the Earth Mozambique
61. Zambia Chalimbana River Headwaters Conservation Trust
62. Equitable Cambodia
63. Maritime Union Of Australia VIC Branch, Australia
64. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, Australia
65. Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network
66. Fortify Health, India
67. International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), Filipinas
68. Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC)
69. Friends of the Earth Japan
70. PASA, Australia


71. Mining Watch Canada
72. Council of Canadians
73. Common Frontiers
74. The Mining Justice Action Committee (MJAC), Canada
75. Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice, Canada
76. COPH in Québec/Canada
77. Alternatives North/Canada
78. Project of Heart, Canada
79. Canada/Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia
80. Mining Injustice Solidarity Network
81. Comité por los derechos humanos en América Latina (CDHAL), Montréal, Canada
82. Centro de investigación en educación y formación en medio ambiente y ecociudadanía, Université du Québec à Montréal, Canadá
83. Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia – SUNNS
84. Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network, ARSN
85. Building Bridges Human Rights Vancouver
86. SOAR Canada


87. Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) – Global Economy Project, Washington DC.
88. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (United States and International)
89. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Institute Justice Team
90. Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, CISPES (National organization from the U.S.)
91. Texas Campaign for the Environment USA
92. Communities United for People, EEUU
93. Earthworks USA
94. US-El Salvador Sister Cities
95. Madison Arcatao Sister City Project
96. Washington Ethical Society/Global Connections. USA
97. Presbyterian Church (USA)
98. Holy Cross International Justice Office/US and International


99.  Transnational Institute (TNI), The Netherlands
100. Corporate Europe Observatory, Bruselas-Bélgica
101. Latin America Solidarity Centre – LASC, Irlanda
102. Global Justice Now, UK
103. Friends of the Earth Ireland
104. Amis de la Terre France / Amigos de la Tierra Francia
105. ONG Africando, Gran Canaria – España
106. Justicia i Pau Barcelona
107. Source International
108. CATAPA vzw, Bélgica
109. Save our Sperrins, Irlanda del Norte
110. Pax Christi International, Bruselas
111. The Gaia Foundation, UK
112. Commission Justice et Paix Belgique
113. Asociación para los pueblos Amenazados, Suiza
114. Middlesex University London, UK
115. The Grail Global Justice and Trade Agreements Network
116. Organizacion Mundial contra la Tortura (OMCT), en el marco del Observatorio para la Proteccion de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos
117. Salva la Selva, España
118. Asociación ambiental Petón do Lobo, España
119. Asociación galega Cova Crea
120. Public Services International
121. Amigos de la Tierra Irlanda del Norte
122. Anti Fracking International (UK)
123. Fracking Free Clare, Ireland
124. Comhlamh – Action for Global Justice, Irlanda
125. Unión Universal Desarrollo Solidario, España
126. Solifonds, Suiza
127. Othernews, Rome Italy
128. SOLdePaz.Pachakuti, Asturias
129. International Association of People’s Lawyers
130. Grupo de Información sobre América Latina (IGLA), Austria
131. Both ENDS the Netherlands

132. Ejec PAPDA – Haïti
133. Amigos e Amigas dos Bosques “O Ouriol do Anllóns”


Public sign-on letter: Stop the criminalisation of public protest in Peru!
View in full at DHUMA