The Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Dr. Francis M. Deng, today expressed his congratulations to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo and to the Congress of Peru for the recent passage of a new national law on internal displacement. The law prohibits arbitrary displacement and clarifies the rights of those who have been forced to leave their homes by armed conflict or other causes.
It is estimated that over 600,000 persons, mostly from indigenous communities, were displaced within Peru during the 1980s and 1990s as a result of armed conflict between the Government and insurgent forces of the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Resistance Movement. While it has been reported that the overwhelming majority have either returned to their homes or settled permanently elsewhere, many of those displaced still feel the lingering trauma, stigmatization, impoverishment and other negative effects of their ordeal.
The Representative noted that, by promulgating this law, Peru joins a growing number of states affected by internal displacement that are actively incorporating international humanitarian and human rights standards into their domestic legal structures building on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, the most widely recognized statement of international norms in this area.
The Representative commended Peru for formalizing its acceptance of responsibility for the prevention of displacement and for the protection and assistance of those who are displaced. He expressed his hope that the implementation of this law would help to heal the wounds still open from the many years of conflict and serve to prevent new injustices in the future.