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Urgent Interventions

Peru: Brutal repression of demonstration of working children

Case Per 031203.CC/ESCR
Child concern/Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Excessive use of Force/Ill-Treatment/Freedom of Expression

The International Secretariat of OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Peru.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by a reliable source of the brutal repression by police forces of a public demonstration of around 150 children and adolescents living and/or working on the streets in Lima (Peru) on November 20th 2003, the anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Most of the demonstrators were between 14 and 17 years old. They were accompanied by some adults, including educators and volunteers working with street and working youths.

Background Information

The demonstration was organized by four associations of children working and/or living in the street (Movimiento Nacional de Niños y Adolescentes Trabajadores organizados del Perú – MNNATSOP, Movimiento de Niños y Adolescentes Trabajadores Hijos de Obreros Cristianos - MANTHOC, Instituto de Formación para Educadores de Jóvenes Adolescentes y Niños Trabajadores de America Latina y el Caribe - IFEJANT, GENERACIÓN), which promote children’s right to work in safe and dignified conditions. More generally, they are fighting for better acceptance and broader participation of (street and working) children and adolescents in civil society. Among other issues, they want the Convention on the Rights of the Child to be amended in a sense that would better take their views and needs into account.

According to the information received, the demonstration remained peaceful until the police came to dissolve it by force at Plaza Mayor. Policemen used tear gas, beat the protestors with sticks and kicked them. Several persons lost consciousness and/or suffered contusions resulting to this harsh intervention. Some newborn babies were also hit by policemen while in their mothers arms.
To justify their acts, the police invoked the illegality of the demonstration, as it did not respect the municipal decree ("decreto de la Alcaldía") which prohibits public demonstrations in the centre of Lima. In order not to breach the decree, the working children’s organisations decided to promote a non-violent protest with small groups entering the square in turns, calling for respect for children’s rights and the acknowledgment and full citizenship of childhood as a subject of rights, as protagonist actors in the society.
Reportedly, a police agent stated that the demonstrators "should not be considered according to their age" because they were only "pirañitas" (“children sleeping on the streets”), which would "anyway not behave themselves like children or adolescents when aggressing adults."

According to the last information received, the police forces - which belong to the "Unidad de Servicios de Control de Disturbios de la Policia" - arrested 13 individuals, including 3 adolescents at about 10:30 pm. The adults were released at 3:00 am in the absence of evidence of them carrying dangerous arms-objects, while the adolescents remained in custody. Allegedly, some of the adults were ill-treated during the detention. Jaramillo Enrique, the coordinator of GENERACIÓN, said at a Press conference on November 21st that Major Vergara hit and insulted him while in police custody.
The 3 minors, one 14 year old girl and two boys (10 and 12 year old), all of them street children, were transferred to a preventive detention centre and were released on November 22nd. They were liberated after a meeting of MNNATSOP’ and Generación’ delegates with María Isabel Rosas Ballinas, the Vice-Minister of the Ministry for Women and Social Development (MIMDES) who assured that she would urge Fernando Rospigliosi, the Minister of Interior to order an investigation of the case. However, according to the information, such an investigation has still not been launched yet.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned about the brutality of the police intervention against these adolescents, as they were peacefully demonstrating for their rights and better protection and urges the authorities to launch an impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events, in order to bring perpetrators to justice and to award reparations to the victims.

OMCT recalls that the Peru is a state party to the Convention on the rights of the child which states that children have the right to express their views freely (Art.12(1), Art.13(1)) and the right of peaceful assembly (Art 15), while the right to participation is one of the overarching principles of the whole convention. In addition, Art. 37 (b) states that “the arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort (…)”. Peru is also a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which stipulates that state parties have to undertake steps to achieve progressively economic, social and cultural rights.
Further, Peru is a state party to the International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights, which ensures the right of peaceful assembly in its Art. 21, and to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which prohibits ill-treatment and degrading treatment under all circumstances.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Peru urging them to:

i. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events, in order to bring the responsible to trial and apply the penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

ii. provide a compensation to the victims;

iii. develop guidelines to fully ensure the safety of individuals (and especially minors) during any police action;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms, including economic, social and cultural rights throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


Presidente de la República de Perú, Dr. Alejandro Toledo, Calle Palacio de Gobierno, Plaza Mayor s/n, Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú, Tel: +511 311 42 20/43 07, Fax: +511 311 39 17/ 426 67 70 E-mail:
Fiscal de la Nación, Dra. Nelly Calderón Navarro, Av. Abancay cuadra 5 s/n, Lima, Perú, Tel/Fax: +51 1 428 0969, E-mail:

Ministro del Interior, Sr. Fernando Rospigliosi, Plaza 30 de Agosto s/n, Urb. Córpac, San Isidro, Lima 27, Perú, Fax: +51 1 224 2405

Ministro de Justicia de Perú, Dr. Fausto Humberto Alvarado, 350 JR. Scipión Llona 350, Miraflores, Lima, Perú, Tel: +511 440 43 10/ 441 73 20, Fax:+511 422 35 77/255 98 56
E-mail: Ministerio de la Mujer y del Desarrollo Social MIMDES – Área infancia y adolescencia: Jesús Ospina E-mail:
Jr. Camaná 616, Lima – Perú Teléfono: +511.4262999- 428-9800 Fax: (511) 426-1665

Defensor del Pueblo, Dr. Walter Albán Peralta, 388 JR Ucayali, Lima, Perú. Tel: + 511 426 78 00/66 57, Fax: +511 426 78 89, E-mail:

Defensor del Pueblo - Comisionado en Derechos Humanos y Administración de Justicia, Dr. Jorge Cauti de la Cruz E-mail :

Presidente de la Corte Superior de Justicia de Ayacucho, Dr. Ricardo Quispe Pérez, Portal Constitución, 20 Palacio de Justicia de Ayacucho, Huamanga, Ayacucho, Perú, Tel: +516 481 36 16/22 25/483 60 68, Fax: +516 481 38 16

Fiscal Superior Decano de Ayacucho da Corte Superior de Justicia de Ayacucho, Dr. Ruan Gusmam Aparco, Portal Constitución, 20 Palacio de Justicia de Ayacucho, Huamanga, Ayacucho, Perú, Tel:+516 481 36 16/22 25/483 60 68, Fax: +516 481 38 16

Ambassadeur Voto-Bernales, Jorge, Av. Louis Casaï 71 (1er) - CP 160, CH-1216, Cointrin, Suisse, E-mail: , fax: +4122 791 77 28/29

Please also write to the embassies of Peru in your respective country.

Geneva, 3rd December, 2003.

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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