On 18 November 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nacho Sánchez Amor of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament posed a written parliamentary question to the Vice-President of the Commission and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell:
“Peruvian protests on 15 November turned into a complex and deeply worrisome situation showing public outrage that was exacerbated by cases of police violence regretfully causing 2 deaths, 63 hospitalisations and a dozen ‘disappearances’. Several international organisations expressed concerns about the excessive use of police force against protesters, detainees’ right to due process, the need to guarantee the separation of powers, and the rule of law. An inclusive, political and democratic solution must be found. These successive protests in the region reflect concerns and unfortunate trends of structural regional obstacles in the way of strengthening democratic institutions and standards.
1. Will the VP/HR encourage the Peruvian Government to investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights violations amid the protests, and contribute to greater respect for human rights? Considering the good relations between the EU and Peru and the EU-Andean Community Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement, will the VP/HR contemplate setting into motion its dialogue mechanisms?
2. What format of electoral observation, which is especially important during times of crisis, will the VP/HR adopt to support full compliance with electoral and democratic standards in the 2021 Peruvian general elections, and will he consider an observation mission in close collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS)?
3. Will the VP/HR consider launching an EU-Latin America strategy or updating the current EU-Latin America framework, including ways to further strengthen electoral and democratic standards?”
On 29 January 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The EU has been following closely and with concern the latest political developments in the country and the violent incidents that took place during recent protests. As stated by the EU and its Members States present in Lima, on 15 November 2020, an investigation into those events needs to be carried out to determine all responsibilities. The EU takes note that President Sagasti confirmed that an investigation is taking place on the reported disproportionate use of force by the police during the protests.
The EU is committed to continue working with all Peruvians for political and social progress. A yearly dialogue on human rights is part of the well-established EU-Peru bilateral political dialogue. The human rights dialogue of 20 October 2020 provided an opportunity to discuss the current situation and ongoing challenges of the human rights and anti-corruption agenda.
President Sagasti has confirmed his firm intention to respect the electoral calendar and the EU has expressed its support for this engagement. The EU has a long-standing commitment to supporting credible, transparent and inclusive elections in Peru. The Peruvian electoral authorities have invited the EU to observe the April 2021 general elections. The EU’s EOM priorities for 2021 are currently being assessed, following consultations with Member States and the European Parliament.
The EU has been working actively for the past months to reinvigorate and refine its relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean and its regional strategy. This work continues and has already found expression through two ministerial conferences (in July and December 2020), as well as in two discussions on the region at the Foreign Affairs Council (in July and October 2020).”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/police-peru-lima-child-girl-1167101/