Thursday, 23 August 2012

Peru: Draft law to ban terrorism denial

Peruvian prime minister Juan Jiménez Mayor has announced plans to outlaw denial of the terrorism Peru experienced by the MRTA and Sendero Luminoso, in much the same way as Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany. The proposed law is known as the "ley de Negacionismo" and is likely to be largely directed at MOVADEF, the new political successor to the Shining Path. 

Being very familiar with the German concept, I'm a bit torn on this one. It's pretty clear why Germany introduced its law, but I was discussing it with my German husband the other day and we agreed that it can seem outdated now. On a related issue, we were watching a programme where various parties were arguing about the terrible things that would happen if we allowed the population to actually read Mein Kampf (which is not, strictly speaking, banned, but the state of Bavaria holds the copyright and they refuse to allow publication). It's generally agreed that Mein Kampf is a terrible, rambling tome more likely to put the reader off Nazism than encourage it, but in Germany, access to it is still restricted. It's all a bit patronising, and we are generations on now. We shouldn't be denying the Holocaust because doing so is outrageous and the vast majority of people know that, not because certain statements are banned.

So, although I'm shocked by arguments that the Shining Path wasn't a terrorist group which committed major human rights abuses, I'm not convinced that banning such statements is the way to go. I think I'd be putting my efforts towards educating the younger generation about what actually happened so they would be less likely to be persuaded by them.

Peru to punish “negationism”, denying a past of killings and destruction by terrorist gangs (Mercopress)
Ley de Negacionismo se aplicará a quienes nieguen violencia de SL y MRTA (La Republica)
Jiménez: Ley de “negacionismo” protegerá a la población del terrorismo (Andina)

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