Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres, former president Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Death Threats and Fear for Safety

Re: Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres, former president Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Death Threats and Fear for Safety

To: Ms. Gladys Margot Echaíz Ramos & Dr. Aurelio Pastor Valdivieso

From: Dagmar Dlab, LRWC Member

Date: 2009-09-29

LRWC is gravely concerned for the safety of the former president of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Dr. Lerner, following reports of death threats he received last week.

We call upon the Peruvian government to address this matter immediately.

LRWC has learned from Human Rights Watch that during the week of September 25, 2009, Dr. Lerner received threatening telephone calls both at his house and at his office at the Catholic University of Peru. In both cases the caller left a message warning, “What we did to your dogs, we will do to you.” These telephone calls followed the poisoning and killing of Dr. Lerner’s dogs by unknown persons on September 5, 2009.

LRWC is aware that since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its report in 2003, Dr. Lerner has been a victim of a number of incidents of harassment and has received repeated threats by phone and email. Dr. Lerner continues to be a leading figure in the field of human rights in Peru. He is currently the President of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights and Vice-President of a commission charged with creating a Museum of Memory, focusing on human rights abuses in Peru.

LRWC is concerned that the recent threats are an act of intimidation against Dr. Lerner and other human rights defenders, and could impede their important work in the human rights field in Peru.

Failure to protect and investigate violations of the rights of Dr. Lerner and other human rights defenders constitutes a significant breach of Peru’s duties under international law and principles. LRWC reminds Peru that international instruments that bind the Peruvian government to implement and enforce these basic rights include, among others, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights, both of which Peru has ratified.

LRWC urges the government of Peru to:

1. provide adequate protection for Dr. Lerner;

2. open an independent and impartial investigation into the threats towards Dr. Lerner, make the findings public, and bring the perpetrators to justice;

3. ensure that such acts of intimidation against human rights defenders do not take place again; and

4. ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their legitimate work without the fear of reprisals.

Please advise LRWC by mail, e-mail or fax of all action being taken by your government to rectify this situation. LRWC will be monitoring Dr. Lerner’s situation closely. A copy of this letter will be forwarded to Canadian officials to alert them to Dr. Lerner’s circumstances.

We thank you in advance for your attention to this matter and respectfully await your response.