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Peru: government experts from the Andean region discuss the use of force in internal disturbances and situations of violence

26-11-2008 News Release 08/217

Lima (ICRC) – On 25 November, twenty government experts from Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador and specialists from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) concluded a two-day debate in Lima on using force and protecting people in situations of violence.

When the police and the armed forces have to intervene in internal disturbances and situations of internal violence, the authorities are faced with the difficult task of restoring order in a way that does not have serious humanitarian consequences.

“We needed to share with the government experts the ICRC’s concerns regarding the humanitarian consequences of an excessive and inappropriate use of force,” said Christophe Martin, the head of the ICRC’s regional delegation for Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. “During the discussion, we provided the government experts with a set of technical recommendations for their consideration,” he added.

Working in groups, the participants looked at four major areas: the relevant legal framework for regulating the use of force during internal disturbances and other situations of internal violence; the use of force by law-enforcement officers whose duty it is to restore or maintain public order; training law-enforcement officers; and the need to protect people in these circumstances.

At the end of the debate, the participants put together a list of institutional mechanisms designed to protect and assist people who may be affected by internal disturbances and other situations of internal violence. One of these recommendations concerns training and the use of suitable equipment to prevent the excessive use of firearms.

In June 2005, the ICRC held a meeting with non-governmental experts on using force and protecting people during internal disturbances and tensions in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The ICRC has been working with the authorities, civil society, the armed force s, the police, and National Red Cross Societies for over a decade, providing advice and organizing activities aimed at ensuring that these actors can respond in the best possible way to situations of violence that could have humanitarian consequences.

  For further information, please contact:
  Dafne Martos, Lima, ICRC, tel: +51 1 241 99 04
  Marçal Izard, Geneva, ICRC, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 32 24