Organizations petition IACHR to pressure Peru for clarification on disappearance of demonstrators

Violent repression leads to death of two people and dozens of injuries; human rights organizations call for clarifications on 20 missing people


The human rights organizations Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, Human Rights Research and Education Centre of Ottawa and Instituto de Defensa Legal submitted on Monday, November 16, a request for the IACHR (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) to issue precautionary measures calling on the government of Peru to provide clarifications about the 20 people who have been missing since this weekend’s protests.

In the early hours of Saturday, November 14, Jack Pintado Sanchez, 24, and Inti Sotelo, 22, who were participating in a protest against the then President Manuel Merino de Lama, were killed as a result of violent police repression.

In addition to the deaths of these two young men, the night also ended with more than 90 injured protesters, 30 assaulted journalists and at least 20 people whose whereabouts are unknown. 

Since 1978, Peru has been a signatory to the American Convention on Human Rights, an international treaty signed between OAS member countries. As a party to this convention, the country agrees to observe the rights and freedoms recognized in the document. In view of this, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a body of the OAS, can issue so-called “precautionary measures” requiring the country to take action in extremely serious and urgent situations.

Political context in Peru

The violent actions by the security forces escalated the tensions on the streets and intensified the protests, leading to the resignation, hours later, of 13 of Merino’s 18 ministers. On Sunday the 15th, under pressure from Congress and several political parties, including his own, the president also resigned.

In just six days in office, Merino, who assumed the presidency after the impeachment of Martín Vizcarra, was responsible for ordering a violent and disproportionate crackdown by public security forces against the intense demonstrations that took place over the past week.

On Monday the 16th, the Peruvian Congress elected Francisco Rafael Sagasti as the new interim president. Sagasti is the third occupant of the country’s presidency in one week and he is expected to remain in office until July 2021. Elections in Peru are scheduled for April.

OAS Electoral Observation Mission

In a press release issued last Thursday, November 12, the General Secretariat of the OAS (Organization of American States) said it would send a team of experts and observers to monitor the elections in Peru, called for April 11, 2021.

According to the press release, the Electoral Observation Mission will be headed up by the economist and diplomat Rubén Darío Ramírez and sent at Peru’s own request, by its National Jury of Elections.


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