Did you know that there are still more than 15,000 disappeared Peruvians as a result of Peru's internal war? What kind of country leaves this issue behind and forgets about it?
Most of the missing people in Peru are Indigenous peoples from the countryside and the Andean cities, especially from Ayacucho where 40% of the victims are from. Over two decades have passed since these disappearances, but the relatives continue their search.
Let's help them.
The National Association of Families of the Kidnapped, Detained and Disappeared of Peru (Asociación Nacional de Familiares de Secuestrados, Detenidos y Desaparecidos de Perú - ANFASEP) is the largest nonprofit organization's in Peru made of relatives of the victims of this war. The mothers of ANFASEP are still looking for their children and they claim economic reparations, supported by Peruvian law.
The Commission of Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Peru (CVR in Spanish) said in its final report that over 15,000 people were forcibly disappeared during Peru's war. There are 4,644 registered mass graves where thousands were buried in mass. Only 2% of the victims of those graves have been identified. There is much to be done.
Most Peruvians who are disappeared were kidnapped, tortured and killed. The criminals were not only the guerrilla groups of Sendero Luminoso (SL) and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), but mainly the right-wing paramilitary (death squads), and the military and police of the Peruvian State.
Indifference and silence
Despite the continuing internal violence in Peru, although today is a much lower level, many Peruvians believe this is a problem of the past.
As a result, the attitude of the general public is not very encouraging in regards of the disappeared: some Peruvians don’t seem to care, because they were not directly affected or because they believe the victims were guerrilla members, which is not true in most cases.
During the government of president Fernando Belaunde, there were killings of entire villages without any justification. Also, there were paramilitary groups during the first government of Alan Garcia, they murdered civilians unjustly accused of terrorism.
Other Peruvians believed that fighting for human rights of the Andean victims, is a way of attacking the current government. Others believe that these actions are intended to imprison those responsible, many of whom continue today in their military and political posts.
Finally, the Peruvian media refuse to cover this issue with due importance, there is an unjustified silence.
Few people speak of the pain of the relatives.
The Scarf of Hope made by the ANFASEP mothers. Photo by EPAF
In its final report, the CRV recommended for the government of Peru to create an institution of forensic investigation. This was the base for the creation of the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) a non-governmental non-profit based in Lima and with teams in Ayacucho, which works on exhumation and symbolic burials of the victims, including the largest mass grave of Peru, in the Putis community.
EPAF is today one of the world's most prestigious institutions in exhumation, identification and repatriation of victims of armed conflict [see photos]. EPAF is also working in other countries like Congo.
One of the activists at EPAF [read the blog de Karin Orr] contacted me to begin this campaign.
We must help these families to find their loved ones. I suggest that you share these videos, copy the poster in this post and help raise awareness among Peruvians and people around the world.
It’s very important that we remember that there are Peruvians who not only suffered blackouts and heard bombs from far away. They lost part of their lives.
Peru cannot find a true reconciliation until we bury our dead with dignity.