Relatives of the men and women who "disappeared" in Peru during the country's armed conflict (1980 to 2000) saw their rights recognized with the passage on May 29 of a law that establishes a mechanism to search for the victims of the conflict in a way that prioritizes a humanitarian approach. The measure is a step forward in the state's arduous task of repaying its debt to Peruvians whose human rights were violated during the political violence. However, some groups--such as the victims of forced sterilization--are still awaiting justice (NotiSur, Sept. 13, 2013, and Aug. 28, 2015).
On June 22, President Ollanta Humala signed Law Number 30470, known as the Search for Disappeared Persons from the Period of Violence Law, which was originally presented to the legislature by the country's ombudsman. Published in the official journal, El Peruano, the day after the president's signature, the law directs the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights to design, carry out, and supervise a national plan for the search for the disappeared, and calls for a National Registry of Disappeared Persons and Burial Sites to be operational by September.
Nearly 16,000 Peruvians disappeared during the conflict. Between 2002 and 2015, a specialized forensic team from the Ministerio Publico (Public Prosecutor's Office) counted 3,202 recovered bodies, of which 1,833 had been identified as of last year and 1,644 had been turned over to their families.
In an article for El Comercio published on June 26, Gisella Vignolo Huamani, in charge of the Office for Human Rights and Persons with Disabilities at the Defensoria del Pueblo (Peru's ombudsman), recalled a request received in 1997 from ANFASEP (Asociacion Nacional de Familiares de Secuestrados, Detenidos y Desaparecidos del Peru), an organization of campesino [rural residents] and Quechua speakers that fights on behalf of Peru's disappeared. She called the request "emblematic" for its impact on the lives of thousands of families. "Inspired by Angelica Mendoza, known as 'Mama Angelica,' ANFASEP demanded to know the whereabouts of their loved ones in Ayacucho, one of the regions most affected by the terrorism," Vignolo wrote. "Today, at 87 years of age and in poor health, Mendoza can't forget the son she never saw again."
Vignolo said that the relatives of the victims, and their organizations, should be guaranteed participation in the implementation of the law so that they understand the guiding principles of the...