Targeting of union leaders by the Shining Path and whether the government or the police give particular treatment to leaders of unions because these are perceived to be infiltrated by the Shining Path, 1995-1998 [PER30889.E]

Country Reports for 1997 and the preceding years states that unions in Peru "represent a cross section of political opinion," and although "the law prohibits unions from engaging in explicitly political, religious, or profit-making activities" "some unions have been traditionally associated with political groups" (1998).

Although available reports covering the years 1995-1998 do not report as many abuses against union leaders as were reported in the preceding decade and in the early nineties, a few references to attitudes towards certain union activists by the government and the Shining Path were found. This information adds to that provided in PER30104.E of 15 September 1998, PER26589.E of 27 March 1997 and PER21615.E of 24 August 1995.

In 1996 Amnesty International (AI) reported that prisoners of conscience or people unjustly convicted on terrorism charges included "community and trade union leaders," although adding that the majority of those wrongly imprisoned were "simple citizens". In the same report, AI states that "political and trade union activists who do not support the ideology and practices of Shining Path" have been "systematically threatened and killed."

From 1990 to early 1996 the Shining Path assassinated some 59 popular leaders, including some unionists, in Lima's shanty towns (Latinamerica Press 21 Mar. 1996, 1). After most of the group's leadership were captured in 1992 and 1993, "the Shining Path largely suspended its military actions and focused its energies on strengthening its political base, setting up networks and 'popular schools' in Lima shantytowns" (ibid.). Although its more recent military actions were "done for propaganda purposes," analysts indicated in early 1996 that "it is increasingly clear that the Shining Path is targeting known grassroots leaders" (ibid., 8). The goal of the recalcitrant faction of the Shining Path, known as Red Path (Sendero Rojo), in Lima has been to "establish a network in the shantytowns to intimidate local leaders into abandoning their posts so that Red Path sympathizers could dominate the local grassroots groups and neighbourhood committees" (ibid.).

On 30 June 1995 the Shining Path murdered Pedro Díaz Maldonado, the secretary general of the workers' union at the aluminium products factory FAM (CNDH 1996).

In April 1995 two unionists were arrested for suspected subversion: Manuel Llancari Cuba, an official of a regional federation of private and public enterprise workers unions (FERETREP-RENOM), and Rosario Olivera Jara, described as a former official of a hospital in the department of Lambayeque (ICFTU 1996, 68). The former was released the same month, but the latter remained in detention longer, despite both having been cleared of subversion charges (ibid.).

Earlier in 1995 some members of a delegation of unionists, who were to participate in hearings before a United States government committee regarding the inclusion of Peru in the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences, were reportedly described as "traitors to the country" by a Peruvian government congresswoman, and at least one of them reported having received death threats (ibid.).

On 31 December 1998 the police reportedly captured the Shining Path's "top military leader in the capital" (AP 4 Jan. 1999). The man was captured in the "industrial slum of Vitarte, where he was in charge of organizing workers and neighbourhood networks for the group;" he had been previously arrested in 1992 "as he led a strike by workers in Lima's port city of Callao, but he later escaped prison by switching names with the help of his lawyer" (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Amnesty International. 1996. Peru: Prisoners of Conscience. (AI Index AMR 46/09/96) [Internet] [Accessed 20 Jan. 1999]

Associated Press (AP). 4 January 1999. "Peru Reports Rebel Leader's Capture." [Internet] [Accessed on 5 Jan. 1999]

Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH), Lima. 1996. Informe sobre la situación de los derechos humanos en el Perú 1995. [Internet] http://www. [Accessed 19 Jan. 1999]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1997. 30 January 1998. Washington, DC: Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. (REFINFO)

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), Brussels. 1996. Annual Survey of Violations of Trade Union Rights.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 21 March 1996. Vol. 28, No. 10. David Wayne. "Shining Path Endures."

Additional Sources Consulted

CNDH [Lima] Annual Reports. 1996, 1997.

ICFTU [Brussels] Annual Surveys. 1996, 1997.

Human Rights Watch World Reports. 1996-1999.

Latinamerica Press [Lima]. 1996-1998.

Electronic sources: Internet, IRB Databases, Global NewsBank, NEXIS, REFWORLD, WNC.


This list is not exhaustive. Country-specific books available in the Resource Centre are not included.