3649 - The Psychosocial Impact of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the Victims of Political Violence

Between 1980 and 1999, Peru experienced a period of extreme violence, the longest of any conflict in the history of the Peruvian republic, which claimed the lives of almost 70,000 Peruvians. 75% of the victims were of the historically-discriminated-against indigenous population. Many Andean village communities found themselves in the crossfire between the Maoist guerrilla movement Shining Path and the national armed forces, in some cases for years on end. After then-president Alberto Fujimori fled the country in 2000, a truth commission was established. The “Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliation” (CVR, Truth and Reconciliation Commission) was charged with the task of investigating human rights violations that took place between 1980 and 2000. The CVR received the testimonies of over 16,000 victims during its working period. These statements, along with the recommendations of the commission, were then submitted to president Alejandro Toledo. The aim of the recommendations was to prevent a relapse into violence and to contribute to the process of national healing and reconciliation. Seven years have now passed since the CVR submitted its report and in this paper I shall analyze the effectiveness of the commission in terms of its psychosocial impact on the urban and rural victims of political violence by investigating the following: What expectations did the victims of political violence have of the commission? To what degree did the commission meet these expectations? What impact did the commission have on victims' lives? To what extent have the CVR's actions contributed to peace and to the ability of victims to reintegrate into society?

Keywords: Truth commission, psychosocial impact, reconciliation

Author: Ramirez Castillo, Nora (Universität Klagenfurt, Austria / Österreich)


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