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Human Rights Award 2005

Truth Commissions of Chile and Peru –
Lawyers of Human Rights

Political context

The protection of human rights is one of the most important political values of all democratic states in Latin America. In the last decades, serious violations of human rights occurred. In some countries they were aimed at political oppositionists to military dictators (as in Chile), in other countries more against the indigenous people (as in Peru). Truth Commissions are globally recognized as valid measures to account for systematic violations of human rights by the government or terrorist groups. In 2004, the National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture provided the first human rights report, which listed survivors and provided a vocal advocate. The report documents the institutionalisation of political imprisonment and torture in the Pinochet era and proves that they were initiated by the highest decision-makers of the dictatorship. In Peru, extreme acts of violence were committed by the Maoist Guerrilla and the military; they were mostly aimed at indigenous people. Shedding light on these systematic violations of human rights was the major goal of the Commission for Truth and Reconciliation and their final report was provided in 2003.

Some impressions of the award

The Awardees

By awarding María Luisa Sepúlveda Edwards and Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung honours the merits of the Chilean and Peruvian Commissions to resolve violations of human rights.

María Luisa Sepúlveda Edwards was managing chairwoman of the Chilean Commission. Since 1973, the certified social worker supported the victims of human rights violations and their families. Dr. Salomón Lerner Febres was chairman of the Peruvian Truth Commission. The former principal of the Catholic University of Lima has exposed the ethnic element of the armed conflict by providing the final report to the Peruvian society.

Further Information
Publications Brochure on the Human Rights Award 2005 (German / Spanish) Links to Publications Summary report of the Truth Commission in Peru Report of the Truth Commission in Chile complete report provided by the US Institute of Peace Latin America: A lot of democracy, not much state and even less social progress. Wolf Grabendorff. - Berlin: FES Department of Development Policy, 2007 Links Website of the Truth Commission in Peru Website of the US Institute of Peace ‚Truth Commissions Digital Collection’. Information about all Truth Commissions worldwide with further links Website of the International Center on Transitional Justice, New York Website of the FES Department Latin America and the Caribbean (German) Website of the FES Office Peru (Spanish) Website of the FES Office Chile (Spanish)