Report
CIVIL WAR IN PERU: Atrocities in the Andes

From 1980 to 2000, around 70,000 Peruvians, the majority of them Indigenous, lost their lives in the fight between government forces and guerillas. In addition, nearly half a million of Peru’s poorest citizens, again most of them Indigenous, were forcibly displaced from their rural homeland to urban slums. The main actors in the war were a Maoist-inspired guerilla organization known as the Shining Path and the Peruvian government.

During the 1980s, economic instability in Peru provoked social tensions and partly contributed to the rise of the violent rebel movement involving Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. When Peru’s military government allowed elections in 1980, Shining Path refused to partake and launched a guerilla war in the Andean highlands. As popularity for this leftist political group grew, particularly among the Peruvian peasantry, the violence worsened. Guerilla rebels used torture, rape and kidnapping to inflict fear on civilians. No part of the country was left unscathed, but the Ayacucho region in particular was badly hit as guerilla and government troops vied to control the native populace through terror tactics. During this time, the MRTA and Shining Path also fought against each other. The use of violence against civilians became systematic and scores of peasants were massacred by all parties involved in the conflict (see article on The Cayara Massacre). According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report on the human rights abuses that took place between 1980 and 2000, an astonishing 75% of the people who were killed or disappeared spoke Quechua as their native language (only 20% of Peruvians spoke Quechua as their mother tongue according to a 1993 census).
Feb 8, 2016
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