AMERICA/PERU - We ask for peace, tranquility, unity and reconciliation, based on a broad process of listening and national dialogue

Friday, 23 December 2022 social situation   politics   violence   human rights   episcopal conferences   religious community  

Lima (Agenzia Fides) - "We Peruvians want a society marked by hope, dialogue, social peace, justice and human development. In the same way, we ask the international community to respect our sovereignty and the democratic transition that our country is experiencing. The great message that we want to convey is to treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves, an ethical principle that we must all share". This is a passage from the joint declaration signed by representatives of 16 religions and faith communities present in Peru, drawn up at the end of a meeting in which they discussed the dramatic events in the country, calling for "peace, tranquility, to unity and reconciliation based on a broad process of listening and national dialogue".
According to news gathered by Fides, the death toll rises to 27 and the number of wounded to more than 650 in clashes between supporters of former President Castillo and the Peruvian security forces. Since Castillo's dismissal and subsequent arrest on December 7, protests have erupted throughout the country, including the capital, involving thousands of people demanding the resignation of the new President, Dina Boluarte, and the convening of a Constituent Assembly. On December 14, the government declared a state of emergency across the country for 30 days. Meanwhile, former President Castillo was sentenced to 18 months in prison by the Supreme Court, while the investigation into the allegations against him continues.
The Peruvian Bishops from the outset urged the institutions "to protect and safeguard democracy, guaranteeing, preserving and restoring public and constitutional order", launching an appeal "to maintain national unity, calm and put an end to any form of violence and violation of the fundamental rights of citizens" (see Fides 9/12/2022). In a message they reiterated: "We need sincere dialogue, to calm souls to protect our weak democracy, preserve the institutional nature and maintain the fraternity of our people" (see Fides, 13/12/2022). On December 18, they invited "all the faithful and people of good will to express peace, hope and fraternity in Peru" through a Day of Prayer for Peace (see Fides, 16/12/2022).
The "Interreligious Statement on the Political Crisis in Peru" launched on December 22 underlines the conviction that "spirituality is a central and fundamental element in the life of all human beings." In these moments of serious social and political crisis in the country, which has deep roots, the religious communities express their solidarity and pain "for the lives that have been lost in the recent demonstrations and that require a transparent investigation in light of the serious events that threaten social peace”. They believe that "we must listen to each other and attend to the cries of our brothers who claim for their rights, a task that is particularly proper to the State." And they urge "not to polarize or discriminate against each other, on the contrary, we must unite for the common good, since we must all be builders of a dignified, fraternal and peaceful Peru."
Addressing the political and civil authorities, they are reminded of their duty to seek, "through sincere and binding dialogue, truly democratic solutions" since any solution "requires the joint application of spiritual, moral and ethical approaches". Although in the short term political reforms are urgent and cannot be postponed, a long and medium term vision is still necessary, "where education and work are the central element, for the good of all Peruvians."
"We do not want an atomized, polarized or violent country", write the representatives of the religions in the final part. "The millions of Peruvians want and trust in justice, unity and peace... We need to reconcile to understand each other and walk together, all of us: civilians and soldiers, men from the countryside and from the city."
The Ecclesial Network of the Justice and Peace Commissions of Latin America and the Caribbean has also published a statement addressed to all political, social and union actors in Peru, expressing its solidarity with the Peruvian people, who once again in their history faces a political crisis and is subjected to violence. "We believe it is necessary to insist on respect for human rights, which are the basis of peace and justice in relations between citizens and the State", they emphasize, and urge: "It is time for a public discussion that, given the legitimate differences, is able to find creative solutions that guarantee democracy in Peru". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 23/12/2022)