Peruvian police used unnecessary and excessive force during protests between November 9 and November 15 last year, according to a Tuesday report from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The protests concerned the legitimacy of interim president Manuel Merino after Congress voted to impeach President Martín Vizcarra over bribery charges. The report came at the invitation of the Peruvian government, which invited the OHCHR to investigate and report on human rights abuses after the protests. The report stresses that police failed to comply with international human rights norms and standards. Moreover, the report notes that police did not distinguish between peaceful protesters and rioters.
Evidence gathered as part of the OHCHR’s investigation revealed that police had “fired pellets from 12-gauge shotguns and tear gas canisters directly at people’s heads and upper bodies, indiscriminately and from close range.” Additionally, police killed two protesters with shotgun pellets, and more than 200 people were injured.
“International law is clear: people have the right to peaceful assembly, and gatherings can only be dispersed in exceptional cases,” commented Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “I truly hope that the authorities–both Government and Congress–take the necessary steps to ensure law enforcement agencies conduct themselves according to international human rights norms and standards.”
The OHCHR offered its support to Peruvian authorities to implement the 30 recommendations issued in the report.