Peru: Police Abuse in the Pay of Mining Companies

by Luis Manuel Claps, Extractives in Latin America, December 16, 2013

n September of this year, the Defensoría del Pueblo (National Ombudsman Office) reported 223 social conflicts in September alone, with more than two thirds of them linked to minerals. The report also registers 196 dead and 2,369 injured in disputes over natural resources from 2006 to 2011. The database of the Latin American Observatory of Mining Conflicts (OCMAL) registers 34 cases across Peru. Even though the State has increased its presence in some mining areas and has its own Social Conflict Administration Office, the front line often becomes the ugliest side of corporate-community relations.

Hard Partners: A report published this month by Peruvian NGOs Grufides, Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras (Human Rights without Borders), the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (National Coordinator for Human Rights, CNDDHH), and the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) of Switzerland, revealed that mining corporations have signed agreements with the National Police to secure their assets. Titled "Police in the Pay of Mining Companies," the report examined the links between the police and mining corporations Antamina, Gold Fields, Sulliden Gold, Xstrata Tintaya, Minera Coimolache, and Yanacocha. These agreements allow them to request permanent police presence or ask for rapid deployment of larger units to prevent or repress social protests. In some cases, the companies provide full financial and logistical support: an incentive to use force.