By: Diana Sofía Peralta Arrasco (@di.arrasco), Willians Alexander Yujra Vizcacho (@alexanderyujrav), and Kimberly Kiara Rosas Tejada (@kym.rosas.t)
The globalization of the International Day of Zero discrimination on March 1st, established by the General Assembly of the United Nations, has two purposes in the current society: to raise awareness of inequality as a structural problem, and to build an equal social order. Discrimination is aimed at different human groups and the difficulty to eradicate it has been the reason why the agenda 2030 of the UN has established three sustainable development goals related to it: SDG 5, gender equality; SDG 10, reduction of inequalities, SDG 16, peace, justice, and solid institutions. In our country, the challenge is even higher, because the cultural, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation diversity, etc., are still being perceived as an imperfection instead of what truly is: evidence of the richness of the individual identity.
In 2017, regardless of the initiatives made against discrimination, according to the Ministry of Culture, ethnic-race discrimination was the type of discrimination with most cases during that year. Currently, according to an interview conducted by the researcher Mariela Noles (2022), from the Center of Investigation of Pacifico University, discrimination, and racism has got worse mainly due to factors such as: “…the social-politic polarization, the migration from the farm to the city and from other countries to our country, among others…”. “As Peruvians, we have been educated to classify people based on their ethnic-race origin, national origin, language, how different are compared to us”.
Besides the type of discrimination mentioned above, following the statistics provided by the UNFPA in Peru (2021), it is indicated that due to the pandemic, the discrimination against the LGTBIQ+ group has gotten worse (70%), the people who have HIV also suffer from discrimination (70%), as well as the indigenous people (64%). According to Carmen Murgia, a specialist in Adolescence and Youth of the UNFPA, the vulnerability of these groups has increased due to: “…lack of access to food, health services, medicines, employment, among others”. For example, the activist Gianna Camacho mentioned that her friend couldn`t sell the food she prepared because people were saying they wouldn`t buy the food prepared by the hands of a trans woman. This and other examples are still shown in our country.
Regarding the entities we can go to in case of discrimination, in the first place, we have the National Institute of Defense of the Competence and Intellectual Property Protection (Indecopi). The purpose of this institute is to defend the rights of the consumers, a situation that is related to the fight against discrimination. In that sense, Indecopi “forcefully rejects all acts of discrimination that affect the rights of the consumer citizens, whether due to race, ideology, language, religion, economic condition or any other reasons” (Indecopi, 2021). This way, Indecopi has been providing support to discriminated consumers and punishing economically those agents who have provoked discriminatory acts.
In the second place, we have the Ombudsman’s Office (2021), which has indicated that to consider an act of discrimination, it must meet three requirements:
The existence of an unjustified differentiated treatment.
It must be caused by a prohibited reason (skin color, origin, ethnicity, sex, language, disability, disease, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic, social, or any other condition).
An annulment or damage in the recognition, exercise, and/or enjoyment of a right.
In the pursuit of eradicating discrimination, this autonomous institution of the State has been taking care of presumed discrimination acts cases in diverse parts of the country, researching and requesting the public institutions in charge, to intervene in discriminatory acts, looking for the restitution of the rights infringed. Also, they carry out work meetings, workshops, and sensibilization events to influence the positive way in public and private institutions, as well as the whole society.
On the other hand, as a civil society, the initiatives and organizations related to eradicating discrimination are also essential for perfecting the social culture in the country. The key to these institutions, volunteer groups, or civil groups’ impact in their work focuses on human groups with different characteristics, as well as the diversity of approaches they work with. Their actions involve, for example, training, consultancies, assistance for victims, pacific mobilizations, and networking. Also, the efforts are focused on reducing the divisions between vulnerable populations and diverse public. For example, in the case of violence against the LGBTI group, exists the Articulation of Lesbian Feminists of Lima; in the case of xenophobia, it is remarkable the work of MAG-THEBAY, a Venezuelan NGO residing in Peru, that protects the immigrants’ rights.
The influence this type of organization reach has even been observed since the decade of 1990. According to Wilfredo Artito (2012), the civil protests of Afro-American groups against discrimination in nightclubs generated the creation of Law 27049 about the prohibition of discrimination against consumers, and later, this led to the formation of the Table against discrimination. The line of action of other institutions like United Peruvian Youth is focused on networking that promotes awareness, as well as articles writing and projects that allow the reduction of social breaches. The impact of organized civil society must be together with governmental activity and even more, a criticism of the public policies that affect the right to equal treatment.
In summary, even though there is a specific date to remind us of the need of fighting for an equal world; in fact, defeating discrimination is a daily task that does not end in governmental action, but also requires the initiative of civil society. In other words, from each of our trenches, we have to work for decent treatment of each human being.
Ardillo, W. (2012). University and positive action: balance and pending agenda. In Discrimination in Peru: balance and challenges. Recovered on March 4, 2023 https://repositorio.up.edu.pe/bitstream/handle/11354/1207/SanbornCynthia2012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Discrimination gets worse in pandemic (June 24, 2021) https://peru.unfpa.org/es/news/la-discriminaci%C3%B3n-se-agrava-en-pandemia
Indecopi (July 6, 2021) Indecopi will reject all acts of discrimination and racist manifestation. Obtained from the Notice: https://www.gob.pe/institucion/indecopi/noticias/504770-el-indecopi-rechaza-todo-acto-de-discriminacion-y-manifestacion-racista
Living without discrimination (no date) Ombudsman’s Office – Peru. https://www.defensoria.gob.pe/areas_tematicas/vivir-sin-discriminacion/
March 1: International Day for Zero Discrimination | Alert against racism (no date) https://alertacontraelracismo.pe/noticias/1-de-marzo-dia-internacional-para-la-cero-discriminacion
Ombudsman’s Office. (December 30, 2021) Ombudsman’s Office. Obtained from Living without discrimination: https://youtu.be/9IzTAP0s9ZA
Peru: The COVID-19 showed the deep inequalities and their effects will last years, warns Bachelet. (July 25, 2022) UN News. https://news.un.org/es/story/2022/07/1511932
Racism and discrimination, until when? Interview to Mariela Noles (December 19, 2022). https://ciup.up.edu.pe/analisis/racismo-y-discriminacion-hasta-cuando/
Statistics | Alert against racism (no date) https://alertacontraelracismo.pe/estadisticas