Changes to Peru's International Cooperation Legal Framework raise International and comparative law issues

8 December 2006

The International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) has received numerous inquiries from Latin American and international organizations regarding amendments to Peru’s Law Creating the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation (APCI). As a result, we are taking the liberty of providing information on several key resources related to the amendments. By way of background, the Peruvian Congress passed the amendments at issue on Tuesday, December 5th. President Alan García Perez signed the amendments into law on Friday, December 8th, 2006. Implementing regulations must be enacted within 60 calendar days of signature.

Prior to passage, several local experts prepared detailed opinions on the constitutional issues raised by these amendments. In an effort to complement these efforts, ICNL also prepared an analysis focused primarily on international and comparative law issues. ICNL identified the following difficulties, among others, with the new amendments:

  • Freedom of Association: The amendments grant the APCI the authority to “prioritize” NGO activity with “national development policy and the public interest.” This authority burdens the right to establish and operate an NGO to pursue common goals inherent in the right to freedom of association. The desire to “prioritize” does not fall within one of the few accepted limitations to the right to associate under international law.
  • Freedom of Expression: To the extent that the APCI can constrain the activities of NGOs that it believes are not furthering “national development policy and the public interest,” the amendments restrict the ability of organizations to express themselves freely. Practically speaking, organizations may be impeded in their ability to advocate or otherwise express themselves, potentially in violation of international law protecting the freedom of expression.
  • International Cooperation: By regulating the flow of foreign funding to human rights defenders, the amendments are inconsistent with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The Declaration recognizes the “important role of international cooperation” in eliminating violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recognized explicitly that the Declaration’s protections extend to the “receipt of funds from abroad.”
  • Sanctions: Sanctions allowed by the amendments would have a tremendous chilling effect on participation of individuals in NGO activities. For example, the APCI can prevent the direct or indirect participation of NGO representatives and agents in another entity undertaking international cooperation activities for five years.
  • Trade Promotion Agreements: By imposing barriers on the flow of capital to Peru, issues may arise under free trade and bi-lateral agreements to which Peru is a party.

We are pleased to have this opportunity to complement the response of Peruvian and international NGOs and others to the amendments.

  1. Peruvian Law No. 27692 Creating the Peruvian Agency for International Cooperation (in Spanish)
  2. Amendments to Law No. 27692 (in Spanish)
  3. ICNL Draft Comments on the Amendments to Law No. 27692 (in English)
  4. Local Legal and Expert Opinions on the Amendments (in Spanish)
    Opinion of the Defensoria del Pueblo
    Opinion of the ExDefensor del Pueblo, Walter Albán Peralta
    Legal Analysis of the Proposed Modifications to Law 27692 Prepared by the Estudio Echecopar Law Firm
  5. NGO Reaction to the Amendments (in Spanish)
    Letter from Human Rights Watch to Peruvian President Alan Garcia – November 7, 2006
    Letter from Coordinadora de Entidades Extranjeras de Cooperación Internacional, COEECI to José Antonio García Belaúnde, MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES
    Letter from La Plataforma Europa Perú, a network of European NGOs working in Peru, to Mercedes Cabanillas, President of the Peruvian Congreso

 


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