Hundreds of Peruvian women are protesting the possible pardon of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, who has been accused of mass sterilizations during his time in office, among other human rights violations.
"We are the daughters of the peasants that you could not sterilize," the women chanted outside the doors of the Special Operations Directorate of the Peruvian National Police, where Fujimori is being detained.
Dressed in traditional Andean clothing, the women called out the thousands of forced sterilizations committed between 1990-2001 via the National Reproductive Health and Family Planning Program. Human rights organizations denounced the “health program” as a means for population control in impoverished communities.
“The president has to listen to the victims, there can be no reconciliation without justice, there can be no pardon without a resolution denouncing forced sterilizations and we can reach a fair trial,” said protester Maria Ysabel Cedano. She added that if President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski grants Fujimori pardon, it would mean the “revictimization of those affected by the forced sterilizations."
During Wednesday’s protests, human rights organizations cited agreements made by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of San Jose, denouncing Peru's debate over whether to release the man behind it all. The agreements underline a non-pardon for those sentenced for thousands of human rights crimes.
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"The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, IACHR, would intervene because it is transgressing a provision that they imposed for those convicted against humanity. In criminal law, the aggravated kidnapping for which Fujimori was convicted does not qualify either," said Carlos Rivera Paz, an attorney for the Legal Defense Institution, IDL.
"If the Kuczynski government gives Fujimori grace, the political support they received last year would be lost forever," Rivera said.
According to Jorge Bracamonte, the National Coordinator of Human Rights, to even consider the release of the ex-president is a violation of the protection of the rights of the Peruvian people.
"The commitments we have on respect for human rights, both in our jurisprudence and internationally, are called to be fulfilled," the minister said.
Investigations by the Ombudsman Office have discovered evidence of 272,028 tubal ligation operations and 22,004 vasectomies conducted almost completely in rural areas and among Quechua-speaking Peruvians.
It’s unknown how many of these procedures were carried out under false pretenses or coercion. However, over 2,000 women have reported that they were sterilized without consent or sufficient understanding and information of the operation.
The Health Ministry of Peru claims that nearly 350,000 women and 25,000 men were forced to undergo sterilization.
According to reports from the IACHR, over 2,000 women have experienced health complications.
Further protests and marches have been organized by human rights organizations in hopes of overturning the motion.