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Peru: UN experts applaud ‘El Ojo que Llora’ memorial, warn against ‘denialist’ violence

GENEVA (23 February 2022) - UN experts* today welcomed the cultural heritage status bestowed on Lima’s "El Ojo que Llora" (The Eye That Cries) monument, built in memory of the thousands of victims from Peru’s decades-long period of violence, and called on authorities to redouble efforts to protect the site along with its supporters.

The memorial, created in 2005 in the Campo de Marte in the Jesús María district of the capital, was declared a National Cultural Heritage on 25 January 2022. The memorial has been vandalised on several occasions, and opponents have harassed and threatened violence against those associated with it.

The UN human rights experts said they were appalled by threats on social media and local news made against victims, human rights defenders and government officials who participated in an event marking the declaration of its heritage status.

"We are concerned that such expressions may lead to renewed acts of violence against people supportive of the monument, as well as endanger the memorial site itself,” the experts said. “We urge the authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure their protection."

The UN experts welcomed the memorial’s official recognition as an essential element of reparation, guarantees of non-recurrence of violence and the right to participate in cultural life.

They expressed concerns at a draft law submitted for approval by Congress which calls for the declaration to be repealed.

“Peru has an obligation to guarantee the preservation of the historical memory of past violence,” the experts said. “This includes protecting private memorialisation initiatives established by victims and civil society organisations. Such measures should be aimed at preserving collective memory of the brutal killings and enforced disappearances of the past and to prevent the emergence of revisionist and denialist theories."

The experts have been in contact with the Government of Peru regarding the memorial "El Ojo que Llora".

ENDS

(*) The UN experts: Mr. Fabián Salvioli, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition; Ms. Alexandra Xanthaki, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; and Luciano Hazan (Chair-Rapporteur), Aua Baldé (Vice-Chair), Tae-Ung Baik, Gabriella Citroni, Henrikas Mickevičius, Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Peru

For more information and media requests, please contact: Ms Brenda Vukovic (+41 22 917 9635 / brenda.vukovic@un.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jeremy.laurence@un.org)

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