By BosNewsLife Americas Service
LIMA, PERU (BosNewsLife)– Christian rights activists have urged Peru to properly investigate the mass killings of Christians and other civilians, ahead of the 10th anniversary of a historic report by the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).
On August 28, 2003, the government-backed TRC presented a report on two decades of internal violence to the government, accompanied by recommendations aimed at achieving some justice for victims and to prevent future violence.
Yet, advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said it was “concerned at the lack of justice in cases involving crimes against humanity in Peru.”
The TRC report found that Peru’s conflict, which pitted left guerrilla groups the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) against government forces, left almost 70,000 people dead with the Shining Path responsible for the largest number of victims.
Most of them were civilians, while state forces were responsible for 37 percent of those killed, according to TRC investigators.
Following a country-wide victim registration project in the past ten years, the death toll was revised upwards to over 100,000 victims, including church leaders, CSW said.
“Unfortunately a large number of cases, especially those involving state forces, have stalled due to obstruction from government ministries and the military. In some instances, cases have been shelved altogether,” the advocacy group complained.
As an example, CSW mentioned the case of Jorge Parraga Castillo, a protestant pastor who was forcibly disappeared, tortured and later killed on the Manta military base in 1989.
The case “was archived after the Ministry of Defense and the military refused to provide the names of those responsible,” CSW added.
Additionally, “Prosecutions of those responsible for massacres, including the extra-judicial execution of six young men during a church service in 1984 in the hamlet of Callqui and the murder of 123 civilians including infants and the elderly in the community of Putis in the same year, have stalled in the courts due to lack of cooperation by the Ministry of Defense and the military,” the group said.
Officials had no immediate comment, though they have made clear they take the massacres seriously.
CSW’s Acting Advocacy Director Benedict Rogers told BosNewsLife that while Pery celebrates the 10th anniversary of the “groundbreaking report” of the TRC, President Ollanta Humala should do more to fully implement the TRC’s recommendations.
“We urge the Peruvian government, including the Ministry of Defense and the military, to provide the names of those responsible for human rights atrocities and to cooperate actively with investigations.” He said as “institutions which are sworn to protect the civilian population and uphold the rule of law” they “must take the lead in the fight against impunity.”
CSW and its partners in Peru “continue to monitor the progress of cases including the Callqui and Putis massacres” Rogers told BosNewsLife.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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