Protesters receiving unnecessary force, says UN

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The United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has issued a statement expressing concern about the disproportionate use of force against indigenous protesters in Peru. This was sparked by recent protests in Cusco, Peru, that led to the death of a young man.

On September 2nd, residents of the Santa Teresa village in Cusco had been protesting the construction of a new gas duct that would cut through some of their lands. Tensions rose between protesters and authorities as the private land owners blocked the road leading to major tourist attraction, Machu Picchu. Jhapet Claysont Huilca Pereira, a 16 year-old protester, was shot and killed by the National Police.

That same day, the National Police of Peru attempted to control protesters in Arequipa by using tear gas. In this case, residents were enraged when the main road leading to their community was blocked for construction of the Cerro Verde mine.

Accordingly, Peru´s capital city, Lima, will be hosting the Peoples´ Summit in parallel to the scheduled COP 20 event. As explained by Via Campesina, a self-described “International peasant´s movement,” the climate crisis stems from societal issues, such as the aforementioned protests and the circumstances that lead to such activities The organization hopes to draw attention away from “capitalist solutions” of climate control, and gear energy towards the fight for the “rights of humans and the rights of nature,” issues that the organization relieves are strongly linked.

It should be noted that last year, in December 2013, T he Economist predicted that Peru would experience a tumultuous 2014 as far as social unrest was concerned. The British magazine stated that “wide income-inequality, poor government, low levels of social provision, [and]ethnic tensions” placed the country at a high risk of social unrest and protests.Recent protests around Peru have caused tension between police and the public.

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