Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Summary record of the 186 3rd meeting
Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Tuesday, 15 February 2022, at 3 p.m.
Chair:Ms. Peláez Narváez (Vice-Chair)
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Ninth periodic report of Peru
Ms. Peláez Narváez (Vice-Chair) took the Chair.
The meeting was called to order at 3 p.m.
Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 18 of the Convention (continued)
Ninth periodic report of Peru (CEDAW/C/PER/9; CEDAW/C/PER/Q/9 and CEDAW/C/PER/RQ/9)
1.At the invitation of the Chair, the delegation of Peru joined the meeting.
2.Ms. Boluarte Zegarra, speaking via video link and introducing the ninth periodic report of Peru (CEDAW/C/PER/9), said that Peruvian women currently found themselves in a difficult situation. Violence against women had increased during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: in 2020, 5 out of 10 women had been victims of violence in the home, while in 2021 there had been 147 femicides and also over 5,900 disappearances, mainly of young girls and adolescents. It was saddening to note that 12.6 per cent of adolescent girls were either pregnant or already mothers, in many cases as a result of rape by a relative. Women headed 58.2 per cent of poor households. Women had accounted for 36.5 per cent of the 206,000 deaths from COVID-19. The Government was persevering with efforts to vaccinate 100 per cent of the population; 60 per cent had already received three vaccine doses.
3.Between 2015 and 2022 the proportion of local mayors who were women had risen only slightly, from 2.8 per cent to 4.8 per cent, but in the 2021 general elections 38 per cent of the seats in Congress had been won by women, a historic record for women’s political participation in Peru. The Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion had made women’s autonomy one of its main priorities. Its social programmes had benefited more than 3.5 million women, promoting empowerment, financial independence and local leadership. A childcare programme, Cuna Más, enabled mothers to re-enter the labour market, and the Juntos financial incentive programme had helped empower 628,000 women, strengthening their decision-making and financial roles in the home. The National Development Corporation Fund, which promoted inclusion in the productive economy, had assisted 88,000 women heads of household and supported 1,200 women from the Amazon region in capacity-building to improve their families’ food security. Special vouchers had been issued to 13.5 million citizens to help alleviate the impact of the pandemic, 2.8 million food baskets had been distributed to vulnerable people and the budget for public soup kitchens had increased for the first time in decades.
4.One of the main objectives of the 2021–2025 justice system reform was to combat violence against women and family members. In that context she wished to draw attention to Legislative Decree No. 1323, aimed at stepping up the fight against femicide, family violence and gender-based violence.
5.Ms. Barrios Alvarado (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the fact that she was the first woman to head the Peruvian judiciary in 200 years was an indicator of the continuing weight of structural discrimination against women in her country. As a first step in combating such discrimination, her Government had adopted the National Gender Equality Policy and institutionalized gender mainstreaming at all levels of public administration. The Supreme Court’s Commission on Gender Justice would be key to the quest for equal access to impartial and non-discriminatory justice for all. In 2021 the judiciary had adopted the principle of parity in order to ensure equal representation of women and men in the Supreme Court. In that context, in order to begin making women’s presence normal in all spheres, including justice administration, temporary special measures were being applied in the appointment of provisional Supreme Court justices.
6.The judiciary was responsible for implementing the national specialized justice system for protection against, and the punishment of, violence against women and family members and, under that system, women’s emergency centres had been set up in police stations, public defenders had been made available to victims and specialist prosecutors’ offices had been established. Special courts, 135 in all, had also been created, 65 with the power to order protection measures and 70 criminal courts that operated multidisciplinary units that were available 24 hours a day to provide psychological, medical and social support. Those courts also used Gesell chambers in order to avoid revictimization. Currently, only 9 of the country’s 34 judicial districts were covered by the special court system and no budget resources were available to extend coverage in 2022. Using its own resources, however, the judiciary had itself created such courts in a further 13 districts and set up special temporary courts in the remaining 12. Arrangements had been made to ensure that those services continued to be available even during the COVID-19 health emergency.
7.The selection criteria for judges and prosecutors now included the requirement to have followed a course of study in violence against women, while a policy of continuous in-service training, not only for judges but also for administrative and technical staff, ensured that victims of violence enjoyed prompt access to justice. Efforts to improve the response to incidents of violence against women included a “panic button” application that could be installed on the telephones of women at risk as part of court-ordered protection measures. Between March 2019 and December 2021, the application had been used 2,513 times. Increased levels of interoperability among police stations, including family police stations, as the first point of access to the justice system, and coordination with judges, had also facilitated a prompt and coordinated response to victims.
8.A free mobile phone application called Seguras had been launched in November 2021 to enable victims of violence to locate the nearest source of assistance, whether forensic medical services, police, the courts, women’s emergency centres, public defenders or community mental health centres. In addition, the judiciary had introduced an artificial intelligence programme that would give judges access to predesigned protection orders based on information in a database of violence cases, which would enable them to issue such orders as speedily as possible. In more remote areas of the country, magistrate courts had been set up to enhance access to justice for victims of violence, and local magistrates had been authorized to order protection measures.
9.Ms. Miloslavich Tupac (Peru), speaking via video link, said that, as part of the measures taken to strengthen women’s political participation and in accordance with the provisions of Act No. 31155, on preventing and punishing harassment against women in political life, the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Groups was required to keep records of all such cases of harassment, while political organizations were required to create internal mechanisms to sanction such acts and to report any cases to the Ministry twice a year. At the same time, the Ministry of Education was introducing curriculum content highlighting the importance of women taking part in political life and the Ministry of Culture was promoting the political participation of indigenous women and Afrodescendent women.
10.One of the objectives of the National Gender Equality Policy was to increase women’s access to and control over natural, productive and traditional resources. Under the 2018 Framework Act on Climate Change, women were considered a vulnerable group and were therefore eligible for special measures. The National Plan for Climate Change Adaptation, adopted in 2021, incorporated a gender and intercultural perspective and was aimed at mitigating the country’s exposure and vulnerability to climate change and increasing its ability to adapt. A gender perspective was also included in mitigation and adaptation measures, and in the nationally determined contributions to the global response to climate change, with a view to prioritizing responses to the impact of climate change on women’s lives.
11.Other important developments included measures to facilitate the search for disappeared persons, including a hotline, a web portal and an emergency alert system; the extension of the National Policy on Indigenous Languages, Oral Tradition and Interculturalism to 2040; the implementation of a rural strategy for prevention of violence towards women and support for victims, including the addition of support in the Quechua and Aymara languages on the Línea 100 violence reporting hotline; and the introduction of an intersectoral mechanism for the protection of human rights defenders.
12.Ms. Chávez Chino (Peru), speaking via video link, said that, under Act No. 31153, no less than 5 per cent of places in employment promotion programmes, job creation schemes and vocational training activities must be reserved for women victims of violence. Women had been prioritized as recipients of family assistance payments and other support provided in the labour sector during the pandemic. Under Act No. 31051, employment protection measures for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers had been expanded. In 2021, a temporary multisectoral working group had been set up to devise an intersectoral strategy to increase women’s access to employment, productive enterprises and equitable working conditions. Act No. 31110, on the agrarian labour system, recognized the need to improve conditions for women and underage workers in the agricultural sector. Its implementing regulations addressed issues such as protection against sexual harassment, the introduction of breastfeeding facilities and the need for training on human rights and gender issues.
13.Peru had ratified the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) in 2018, and, in 2021, had adopted Act No. 31047 and its implementing regulations to prevent and eliminate all forms of discrimination in the working conditions of domestic workers and to guarantee their fundamental rights. Peru also intended to ratify the ILO Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190). The “Work Without Harassment” counselling and support service provided assistance in cases of sexual harassment. In 2021, 311 interventions had been carried out in response to cases of sexual harassment and wage and gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
14.Ms. Bonifaz Alfonzo said that the existing disparities in Peruvian women’s enjoyment of their human rights were exacerbated by the marked inequalities between urban and rural areas and by the inequitable distribution of wealth in the country. The Committee was concerned by the reduction in the budget for equality programmes, which was an obstacle to achieving gender equality. The increased prevalence of violence against women during the pandemic was likewise a cause for concern.
15.She would welcome more details on the National Plan on Access to Justice for Vulnerable People 2016–2021, including the results it had yielded and whether it would be extended. She wished to know whether justice officials received training on how to protect women human rights defenders and on how to investigate and prosecute alleged violations of their rights in a gender-sensitive manner, and whether judges received training on how to assess evidence in a gender-sensitive manner in trials involving femicide, sexual harassment or the distribution of material with sexual content. It would be useful if the delegation would explain what was being done to build the Peruvian authorities’ forensic expertise, sanction officials who mishandled cases of gender-based violence, monitor the use of force by law enforcement officials during demonstrations in defence of the rights of lesbian and transgender women and prevent acts of sexual violence against women in police custody. She would like to know whether protection measures for women victims of violence were ordered within the established legal time limit. She would also like to hear what steps the State party was taking to ensure that indigenous language interpreters were available in all the country’s judicial districts.
16.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the National Gender Equality Policy addressed structural discrimination against women and recognized the impact of such discrimination on the enjoyment of their rights and opportunities for development. One of the aims of the Multisectoral Strategic Plan for Gender Equality was to put in place protocols for the delivery of the priority services identified in the Policy. By the end of 2021, 14 such protocols had been implemented; more protocols would be put in place in 2022.
17.In 2020, it had been decided that the national budget for the promotion of gender equality would be drawn up based on expenditure in that area in 2018 and 2019. Spending on the promotion of gender equality had amounted to 1.3 per cent and 1.2 per cent of the total national budget in 2018 and 2019, respectively, and, in both years, had been concentrated on guaranteeing rights. A higher proportion of the budget of regional governments was spent on advancing gender equality.
18.Mr. Rodríguez Gómez (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the Intersectoral Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders included training for judicial and other officials on the different types of protection that human rights defenders, particularly women, might need. The groundwork was being laid for a future cooperation initiative involving the National Police and women human rights defenders from the Amazon region. The Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Groups intended to devise a protocol to address the situation of women human rights defenders whose sexual and reproductive rights had been violated. The National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, too, made mention of women human rights defenders.
19.Ms. Rana said that she would like to know whether the State party planned to update the National Plan for Gender Equality and the National Human Rights Plan, which had ended in 2017 and 2021, respectively, and, if so, when. Similarly, it would be helpful to know when the National System of Gender Indicators would be redesigned and whether civil society would be involved in that process. She would appreciate an overview of the public policies and affirmative action initiatives adopted in favour of women of African descent by the Round Table on Afro-Peruvian Women of the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Groups. Alternative sources had reported that a bill had been put forward that would change the Ministry’s name to the “Ministry for the Family and Vulnerable Populations”, thus weakening the existing institutional mechanism for gender equality. She would be grateful if the delegation would provide further information on that bill. She wondered whether the State party intended to act on the recommendations made by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions to strengthen the Office of the Ombudsman so that it could discharge its mandate effectively and independently in full compliance with the Paris Principles.
20.She understood that women in Peru still struggled to gain access to reparation mechanisms and participate in the search for disappeared persons and the prosecution of gender-based crimes. Did the State party intend to adopt a national action plan to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women and peace and security and subsequent resolutions, in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation No. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and post-conflict situations? The Committee was concerned by the fact that virtually no convictions had been obtained for acts of rape committed against women during the internal conflict in the State party. She wished to know when the Comprehensive Reparations Plan (Act No. 28592) would be fully implemented.
21.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru) said that, in 2017, the country’s central Government and regional governments had been mandated to create gender equality mechanisms within their constituent entities to identify and remedy gender gaps and inequalities. To date, such mechanisms had been set up by more than half of all central government ministries and by all regional governments.
22.Ms. Martens Godínez (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Groups maintained a continuous dialogue with civil society organizations with the aim of upholding the rights of vulnerable women. Those dialogues took place through, inter alia, the Round Table on Afro-Peruvian Women and the Round Table to Promote the Rights of Indigenous or Aboriginal Women. A strategy to prevent violence against women living in rural areas and to assist victims had been implemented. A national strategy for Peruvians of African descent was at the approval stage, and the various round tables were working on strategic plans for the period 2022–2026.
23.Mr. Rodríguez Gómez (Peru) said that the National Human Rights Plan 2017–2021 would be replaced by a national human rights policy. Unlike its predecessor, the new policy would address the intersectional discrimination experienced by persons in need of special protection, including women; lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons; and victims of the violence that had occurred in Peru between 1980 and 2000.
24.The Chair said that she wished to know how the State party ensured compliance with the quotas for the representation of women established in Act No. 30982 for community councils, in Act No. 31030 for lists of electoral candidates, and in Supreme Decree No. 017-2021-TR for the inclusion of victims of domestic violence in employment promotion programmes, job creation schemes and vocational training activities. She also wondered whether there were any sanctions for non-compliance with those quotas. Did the State party plan to introduce a quota for women’s representation in the composition of the Constitutional Court and in the appointment of judges and magistrates or to adopt measures to ensure permanent gender parity within the executive branch? Had it considered adopting other temporary special measures to assist women who suffered multiple and intersectional discrimination?
25.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru) said that, under Act No. 30996, at least 40 per cent of candidates in internal and primary elections and the resulting electoral list must be women and at least 40 per cent must be men, with male and female candidates listed alternately. Under Act No. 31030, the lists of candidates for president and vice-president and the lists of candidates for Congress and for the Andean Parliament must include equal numbers of men and women, listed alternately. A similar requirement applied in respect of lists of candidates for leadership positions within political parties and candidates for other elected offices. In 2021, women had accounted for 50.3 per cent of registered candidates for Congress.
26.Ms. Oblitas Angulo (Peru), speaking via video link, said that male and female candidates would be listed alternately for the first time on the ballots for the 2022 regional and municipal elections. The National Elections Board had decreed that vertical parity and gender alternation in lists of candidates must be respected; lists with an uneven number of candidates were permitted but could only be one candidate short, and the gender alternation requirement still had to be met. Horizontal parity also had to be respected: female candidates must be listed at the top of half of the lists of candidates fielded by political parties in the various regional constituencies. Failure to comply resulted in a refusal to register the list. Despite the advances made, structural discrimination, sociocultural stereotypes, lack of financing and unequal media coverage continued to limit women’s political participation.
27.Ms. Loli Espinoza (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the National Board of Justice was responsible for appointing judges. While candidates must have received academic instruction on the subject of violence against women, there was currently no requirement for them to apply a gender parity criterion in judicial appointments. She was aware that the Board’s rules in that respect would need to be modified. In their appointment of judges to the Constitutional Court, members of Congress adhered to the principle of parity, although there was no express requirement to do so.
28.Ms. Reddock said that gender-based violence against women in the State party continued to be a serious problem, which had been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee had received reports that, despite the laws and measures adopted by the State party in that regard, some women remained excluded and lacked access to justice. They included minors, who could not make reports of violence without an adult present, women with disabilities, indigenous women and transgender women. She would like to know how the State party planned to follow up and monitor the implementation of the various laws, regulations and services and improve access to justice for excluded groups. She also wished to know whether the Judicial Training School would reinstate the previously compulsory course on gender and justice and strengthen awareness of gender issues at all levels of training and whether the National Board of Justice would adopt a guide to incorporating the gender perspective in the selection of magistrates. She would welcome confirmation that legislation to strengthen cooperation and interoperability among the institutions involved in establishing the national specialized justice system would be implemented in 2022.
29.She would be grateful for information on specific programmes addressing sexual violence against young women. She wondered whether the State party planned to change the law to allow minors to make direct reports of crimes against them and whether data on sexual and gender-based violence disaggregated by age, ethnicity and other variables would be included in the redesigned National System of Gender Indicators. It was important to understand and address the underlying causes of violence against women, especially the powerful ideologies of masculinity and femininity. In that connection, she wished to know the status of the Ministry of Culture’s campaign to combat discriminatory stereotypes and to encourage the media to promote content that ensured dignity, equality and non-discrimination. If that campaign remained in operation, she wished to know whether its impact had been evaluated. Lastly, she asked what budgetary resources had been allocated to national education and awareness-raising programmes for schools, early childhood education, parent education programmes and the national media that aimed to eradicate discriminatory stereotypes and increase awareness of the unequal value placed on masculinity and femininity.
30.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru) said that the measures adopted to raise awareness of gender equality included surveys to identify gender stereotypes, a campaign against gender-based violence for adolescents and young persons in schools and universities and a project on the economic empowerment of adolescent girls.
31.Ms. Romero Borda (Peru), speaking via video link, said that a five-year plan had been drawn up for the implementation of the national specialized justice system, which aimed to meet the pressing need in the justice system for a gender-based, intersectional approach to victims of violence. Significant resources had been allocated between 2019 and 2021 for the implementation of the specialized justice system, and additional funding had been provided to maintain the system in 2022. A request to the Ministry of Economy and Finance was being drawn up to obtain further resources that would enable the system’s extension to all areas of the country. In response to the increase in violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of steps had been taken to facilitate the imposition of protection measures, including the increased use of technology and the removal of the need for a hearing, thereby reducing the necessary time frame from 72 to 24 hours.
32.Ms. Acevedo Huertas (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the Aurora programme for the prevention and eradication of violence against women was in operation throughout the country. Under the programme, more than 430 emergency centres offered specialized services and 22 shelters offered temporary accommodation for women victims of violence. The programme’s services, which were free of charge and available without discrimination, had been considered essential during the COVID-19 pandemic and had therefore remained in operation. The programme took an intercultural approach, for example by offering services in indigenous languages and working with indigenous organizations to improve access and services tailored to the needs of indigenous women. In addition to Quechua and Aymara, assistance would soon be offered in two Amazon indigenous languages. Awareness-raising and communication campaigns had been carried out in cooperation with civil society to address social tolerance of violence against women.
33.Ms. Loli Espinoza (Peru) said that minors could report violence against them directly to the authorities and did not need to be accompanied by any third party. The judiciary had established a commission for access to justice for vulnerable persons and adhered to the Brasilia Regulations Regarding Access to Justice for Vulnerable People. Different methods for reporting violence had been introduced, including remote reporting, and interpreters were provided for many spoken languages and also sign language. Great emphasis had been placed on accessibility for persons with disabilities, and where services were not accessible, persons with disabilities could use remote methods to access justice. Training for judges, and indeed all judicial staff, incorporated a gender perspective. The Commission on Gender Justice of the Judiciary provided capacity-building at the national level, developed tools and mainstreamed the gender perspective. The training courses offered by the Judicial Training School and a number of other institutions included modules on gender. Training and academic instruction on gender were also provided by universities. To tackle the structural causes of violence, a national strategy for the prevention of gender-based violence against women, which had been mainstreamed across the Government’s activities, received funding under the Results-oriented Budget Programme for the Reduction of Violence against Women.
34.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru) said that three pilot projects would take place in 2022 as part of the national strategy for the prevention of gender-based violence against women. Additional information would be provided in writing.
35.Ms. Leinarte, noting that the vast majority of victims of trafficking in persons in the State party were adolescent girls and young women trafficked for the purpose of sex, said that the Committee was particularly concerned about trafficking in remote areas and about the vulnerability of indigenous and foreign women to the crime. She would like to know what the State party’s strategy was to combat and reduce trafficking in persons for the purposes of sex. Sex tourism also reportedly flourished in the State party and there had been an increase in the sexual exploitation of children, mostly teenage girls, online. The country also hosted more than one million displaced Venezuelans, many of whom were victims of gender-based violence and trafficking. She would welcome information on the Government’s response to the exploitation of refugees and on the national referral mechanism for undocumented migrant women, particularly those who had suffered sexual exploitation. Welcoming the State party’s new legal provisions for compensation of victims of trafficking, she asked how many persons exploited by traffickers received victim status each year and whether the compensation fund recommended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had been established. If so, what amount had been allocated to victims?
36.Ms. Molero Mesia (Peru) said that the Government’s response to trafficking included communication and information campaigns, including for school children, a guide on individual reintegration plans for victims and training for the judiciary, police officers and health-care workers.
37.Mr. Díaz Cachay (Peru), speaking via video link, said that the National Police division that addressed trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants was deploying its intelligence officers to identify areas where those crimes most commonly took place, thereby enabling operations and police interventions throughout the country. Police officers received training on the crime of trafficking, and awareness-raising campaigns had been undertaken to mitigate its causes.
Articles 7 to 9
38.Ms. Stott Despoja, commending the level of participation by women in politics in the State party, asked what mechanisms were included in regional government plans to ensure women’s equal participation in politics, whether the number of participants in online courses aiming to strengthen women’s electoral campaigns would be increased and what steps would be taken to ensure that women with disabilities who had previously been subject to guardianship were included on the electoral registry. She wondered what the outcomes of the Ethical Electoral Pact had been, particularly in relation to equal media coverage for female candidates in elections, and how Act No. 31155 on harassment against women in political life was enforced. She also wished to know the outcome of the National Plan for Older Persons in terms of increasing the civil and political participation of that population group, and whether the General Act on Rural Communities would be amended to set a minimum quota of 50 per cent for the election of women. She would be grateful if the delegation would provide information on the outcome of the National Elections Board’s campaigns to promote political participation among indigenous persons and indicate whether those campaigns would continue. Lastly, it would be useful to know what measures had been adopted to ensure women’s equal representation in managerial positions in public and private companies and what steps had been taken to protect women human rights defenders from harassment, violence and discrimination.
39.Mr. Safarov said that, while the State party had adopted a range of measures, including online tools, to facilitate the registration of the more than one million refugees and migrants that it was currently hosting, there were reportedly problems with their implementation and with the issuance of birth certificates to children whose parents had not obtained identity documents within the time frame stipulated by law. He would like to know how the State party would resolve the problems with the direct implementation of the international conventions relating to stateless persons, in particular through the amendment of domestic laws on citizenship and simplification of naturalization procedures; how it was tackling problems relating to access to legal aid by unregistered and stateless persons and ethnic minorities; and when it would establish a fair and effective process to determine statelessness and ensure protection for the most vulnerable stateless persons, including women and their children. Lastly, he wished to know when the State party would ensure free, equal access to medical, legal and social services for unregistered stateless persons.
The meeting rose at 5 p.m.