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PERU
For Afro-Peruvians, sorry is not enough
12/2/2009
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Afro-descendents accept government apology for abuse, but seek effective measures against discrimination.

For the first time, Peru´s government apologized to the country´s 3 million Afro-Peruvians for centuries of “abuse, exclusion and discrimination” they were subjected to since they were brought to the Andean country as slaves nearly five centuries until the 19th century.

In an executive resolution published Nov. 28 in state newspaper El Peruano, the government said these practices had created “a barrier to social, economic, occupational and educational development” for Peru´s black population.

But while they applauded the government´s attitude, representatives of the Afro-Peruvian community demanded serious policies to undercut the discrimination that still exists.

Paul Colino Monroy, of the Movimiento Negro Francisco Congo, noted that slavery was abolished in Peru 155 years ago, but social inclusion for the black population is still elusive.

“There are places like supermarkets and banks where, with subtle measures, blacks are impeded from being hired, as well as for Andean and Amazonian indigenous peoples,” Colino told news agency Prensa Latina.

In a statement, Peru´s Human Rights Association, or Aprodeh, echoed his concerns.

Wilfredo Ardito, who heads the organization´s economic, social and cultural rights unit, agreed, noting that hiring a black pallbearer or doorman in luxury restaurants and hotels is still considered “elegant” and sought to bring about an image of the Colonial era.

“In other countries that have taken this problem seriously, the state intervenes to guarantee that discrimination disappears ,” Ardito said, referring to countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Great Britain and the United States. Peru does not have such systems in place.
—Latinamerica Press.


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