Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Peru to Create Military Ombudsman

Peru is to create a military ombudsman (defensoria del personal militar) to uphold the rights of members of the armed forces, the Ministry of Defence has announced. The ombudsman's office will be able to provide legal advice, information, supervision of basic services to soldiers, and so on.

I have nothing against this in principle - in fact, quite the contrary. As we saw from the Shining Path ambush a few months back when underage soldiers were killed, there is good reason to be concerned about the rights of soldiers. Although human rights are universal, the armed forces have specific issues which makes them worthy of particular consideration. Giving soldiers the tools to understand their own rights may also help them to uphold the rights of others. Peru is also in good company with nations such as Canada, Ireland, Germany, and the Netherlands also having ombudsmen. I just hope that this is not used as another stick with which to beat the human rights organisations who are sometimes presented, quite erroneously, as 'persecuting' the armed forces. Basically, I'm suspicious of anything Defense Minister Flores-Aráoz does.

Ministerio de Defensa crea la Defensoria del Personal Militar
(El Comercio)

See also:
Por una defensoria del militar YA! (Ideele)

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