Democracy and rights
Peru has mainly functioning institutions and
in the 2000s the change of power took place in orderly
form. However, the deep-rooted corruption is a social
problem. Several scandals in recent times have again
shaken confidence in democracy and politics. The
indigenous peoples are subject to discrimination and
lack political representation.
The four most recently elected presidents, as well as
the leader of the largest opposition party, have all
been accused of involvement in the major corruption
scandal surrounding Brazilian construction giant
Odebrecht (see Current Policy). The scandal shows that
corruption characterizes politics at the highest level,
even though it is generally considered to have declined
since Alberto Fujimori's authoritarian rule in the
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Peru, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Alberto Fujimori was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in
prison for corruption and human rights violations. When
the then President When Pablo Pedro Kuczynski suddenly
pardoned Fujimori, formally for humanitarian reasons, in
December 2017, it was assumed to be a step in trying to
save his own skin. Fujimorists in Congress were pushing
to get Kuczynski deposed. The pardon was sharply
criticized by human rights organizations with reference
to impunity and the rule of law. After a short year, and
after Kuczynski was forced to resign, a court withdrew
It is well known in the past that local politicians
get their election campaigns funded with money from drug
dealing and other illegal activities. The majority of
leading politicians who ran in the 2016 presidential
election were also accused of corruption, including the
two who then moved on to the second round. Some others
were disqualified (see Calendar). Almost a quarter of
all members of Congress have been interrogated in
connection with a bribery investigation.
Peru ranks 101 out of 180 countries in Transparency
International's annual assessment of the world's
countries by the degree of corruption (the full list is
here). This means a position in the middle of major
countries in South America, much like Brazil and
Colombia - and worse than Chile. The same applies to
relative measurements of political and civil rights, as
well as freedom of the press and expression.
Social conflicts are behind many human rights
violations in Peru. The conflicts mainly concern the
utilization of natural resources and environmental
issues, and often affect the mining industry. The
indigenous peoples of the Andes and the Amazon are
concerned about what the activities of the foreign
mining companies will have on the environment and human
health. Demonstrations and roadblocks occur and
sometimes end in violent clashes with security forces
with dead and injured. Indigenous peoples feel that they
do not receive adequate compensation when their land is
used. Another reason for upset feelings is the
difference in how much resources are concentrated to the
coastal areas and the capital Lima in relation to the
areas where the Indians live.
The remains of the terror-stamped guerrilla Sendero
Luminoso (see also Modern History and below) are deeply
involved in cocoa cultivation and drug trafficking. The
guerrilla and the illegal coca production are now
concentrated in an area southeast of Lima. The area is
usually referred to by an abbreviation with the names of
two or three rivers, such as Vrae (Apurímac-Ene Valley)
or Vraem (Apurímac-Ene-Mantaro Valley). Army forces sent
to the guerrilla areas have been subjected to several
attacks and a number of people have been killed.
Although Peru is South America's second largest
producer of coca leaves and cocaine (after Colombia),
the country is considered one of the safest in Latin
America. However, among Peruvians there is great concern
about the security situation, which many refer to as the
most pressing political issue. Crime has risen sharply
in recent years.
Freedom of expression and media
Freedom of the press is enshrined in the constitution
but is poorly respected in practice. Every year, over a
hundred cases of crimes against the freedom of the press
are reported and violence against journalists is common.
Journalists are harassed by authorities and other
actors, such as businessmen or other interest groups.
Journalists who write about particularly sensitive
topics such as corruption, social conflicts (see Current
policy) or drug trafficking run the risk of being
subjected to violence or threats of violence. It also
happens that journalists are murdered. Defamation
legislation often leads to threats, harassment and
prosecution of journalists, especially in remote areas.
There are also legal barriers to journalists'
activities. In many cases, politicians and other
authorities have sued mass media for slander, which is
punishable. When Ollanta Humala took office as president
in the summer of 2011, a legislative amendment was
adopted that would mitigate the penalty for slander, but
it was never implemented. Instead, the government
introduced new laws that restricted the work of
journalists. Among other things, it was forbidden to
disseminate information obtained through hidden
interception, a method often used to expose corruption
within the power apparatus.
The threats and pressures sometimes cause journalists
to refrain from reporting on events, even though they
feel they are important. Another problem is corruption.
During Fujimori's time at the act, large parts of the
journalist corps were bribed and even today it seems
that journalists receive money for angling news or
reporting in a certain way.
In 2020, Peru is ranked 90 out of 180 countries on
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index (for the
full list see here).
Judicial system and legal security
During Alberto Fujimori's tenure as president in the
1990s, the independence of the judicial system was
limited, including through threats and bribery.
Following Fujimori's fall in 2000, measures were taken
to strengthen human rights and create a more independent
judicial system. In 2008, a law was passed that
tightened the requirements for the country's judges and
the judiciary has its own disciplinary committee which
actively worked to improve conditions. Despite this, the
justice system still has a reputation for being corrupt.
The police and security forces are regularly accused
of arbitrary arrests, torture and other abuses. Protests
against disputed mining projects have led to violence.
The congestion is great in the prisons. According to
official data, 97,000 people are inside, which is twice
as many as the 68 prisons are intended for.
The 1993 Constitution introduced the death penalty
for terrorist offenses. The death penalty can also be
punished for high treason in wartime.
Legal aftermath after the 1980-2000 conflict
In 2001, a law was repealed from 1995 that granted
the military amnesty for crimes during the war against
the guerrillas, 1980-2000. A Truth and Reconciliation
Commission appointed the same year in 2003 presented a
report on human rights violations during the conflict
between security forces and, above all, the Maoist
guerrilla Sendero Luminoso. According to the Commission,
more than 69,000 people were killed or disappeared in
the guerrilla-military violence. Most of the victims
belonged to the indigenous peoples and lived in the
villages of the Andes. Sendero Luminoso was accused of
systematic methods of terror against civilians, while
army soldiers and police were accused of abuses such as
torture and sexual violence. The guerrilla was believed
to be behind just over half of the murders, while a
little over a third of the victims were killed by
A report presented in 2019 found a lower death rate,
about 48,000, and found that security forces were behind
most deaths. In the same year, a judge indicted for
crimes against humanity, against 14 militants who were
accused of systematically raping nine agricultural women
between 1984 and 1995.
Legal proceedings for abuse during the conflict have
generally been slow. State power has been accused of
doing too little on the issue. One concern is that the
Ministry of Defense is not happy to provide relevant
information. By 2017, only 78 cases had been completed,
where mainly military and police were accused of abuse.
In only 17 cases were there convictions.
However, the work is continuing. A court case
involving the torture, disappearance and extrajudicial
executions of 53 people at a notorious military base,
Los Cabitos, ended after just over a decade with two
convictions. However, the two former soldiers were
convicted in their absence. The remains of over 100
people have been found in Los Cabitos, located in
Over 200,000 women were also forcibly sterilized
under Fujimori's rule, according to an official report.
The state government has established a national register
of those affected, who mainly belong to the indigenous
According to Peruvian authorities, around 20,000
people disappeared during the armed conflict. President
Martín Vizcarra ordered in 2018 that a DNA bank be set
up to facilitate the identification of victims.
President Fujimori resigns
President Alberto Fujimori, who moved to Japan after a major corruption
scandal (see Modern History) announces that he has left his post. Parliament
formally disposes of Fujimori. Parliament President Valentin Paniagua is sworn
in as interim president.