Saturday, 3 May 2008

Peru: Backlash against APRODEH continues

APRODEH is facing heavy pressure following its letter to the European Parliament pointing out that the MRTA's inactivity disqualifies it from inclusion in a list of current terrorist organisations.

There are suggestions that this is part of a broader campaign by the Peruvian government to stifle dissent and human rights actisism:

Peru: Government Lashes Out at Human Rights Groups

However, an extraordinary and, in my opinion, sinister opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal suggests that 'NGOs [such as APRODEH] that share the ideology of the far left toil away daily in Peru, trying to legitimize their buddies who, behind the scenes, continue their "armed struggle"'.

Friends of Terror in Peru
(Wall Street Journal)

I'm deeply suspicious of that old right-wing government line: 'those pesky human rights people are just terrorists in disguise'. I've spent time at APRODEH and I'm convinced that their workers put in time and effort for the good of Peru and do not support violence in any form. The author of this article seems to have swallowed hook, line and sinker the vengeful Peruvian government's claim that APRODEH 'intervened on behalf of terrorists'.

I suspect that it may just be too useful for the Peruvian state to discredit APRODEH. Let's not forget that the Peruvian President is Alan Garcia - a man whose first term in office did not exactly leave him unblemished by accusations of human rights violations. I sincerely hope that the work of APRODEH is not thwarted, and that its representatives are not in personal danger, after this controversy.

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