Search

 

Cablegate: Constitutional Tribunal Rules Parts of Ngo Law

VZCZCXYZ0021
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #3074/01 2552153
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 122153Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6812
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION PRIORITY 1801
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5065
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7580
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3093
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0759
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ SEP 4514
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO PRIORITY 9305
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 1449
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO PRIORITY 1474

UNCLAS LIMA 003074

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL EAID PE
SUBJECT: CONSTITUTIONAL TRIBUNAL RULES PARTS OF NGO LAW
UNCONSTITUTIONAL

REF: A. LIMA 244

B. LIMA 913

Sensitive But Unclassified. Please handle accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: Peru's Constitutional Tribunal ruled on
September 6 that parts of the NGO law were unconstitutional,
specifically, articles one and nine, which had established
tighter controls over private funding of NGOs and had
established stiff penalties for NGOs violating the
regulations. The decision came after a week of public
statements by congressional leaders declaring the law both
constitutional and necessary; NGOs have kept a low profile in
the debate but are privately pleased the court struck down
parts of the bill they saw as clearly unconstitutional.
Still, the controversy and tensions between elements of the
ruling party and the NGO community remain, and both sides
expect that public skirmishing over the role of civil society
in the political process will continue. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On September 6, Peru's Constitutional Tribunal
issued a 55-page ruling declaring parts of Law 28925
unconstitutional. The law was passed in December 2006 and
was designed to increase governmental oversight over NGOs.
In particular, the court took issue with language in Article
1 which allowed the government to regulate NGOs financed
entirely by private funds. The court agreed with the appeal
filed by a consortium of NGOs that such supervision
represented an unconstitutional infringement on private
contracts. The court also rejected administrative sanctions
established in Article 9 which gave the government the right
to dissolve NGOs and to ban NGO personnel from future
involvement in international assistance. Although the bulk
of the law remained unchanged, NGOs considered these two
points the most important parts of the law (see reftels).

3. (SBU) Some congressional leaders had used the run-up to
the decision to defend the law. The president of the
congress, Luis Gonzales Posada of the ruling APRA party, said
the language of the law was clear and reflected a legitimate
need to regulate NGO activity. The secretary general of
APRA, Maurcio Mulder, said regulation of social organizations
was a basic obligation of the state and suggested that some
NGOs had allowed themselves to be used as terrorist fronts in
the past. After the September 6 decision, both Mulder and
Gonzales said the high court had not challenged the right of
the government to regulate NGOs and had left the bulk of the
law untouched. Both suggested that the congress would pass
additional legislation to meet the objections of the
Constitutional Tribunal.

4. (SBU) Leading NGOs offered little public reaction but
privately expressed satisfaction at a decision most
considered inevitable. Hans Landolt of the NGO Institute for
Legal Defense told poloff that Articles 1 and 9 were simply
too vague and confusing to be implemented. Landolt called
the entire debate over the law pointless: significant
regulations already existed, he said, to control NGO
activity, and NGOs have never questioned the right of the
government to know how public funds are spent, only the
state's right to intervene in a agreement signed between
private parties. For Landolt, the Congress's insistence on
legislating against NGOs in the absence of a compelling need
suggests the congressional leadership does not understand the
positive role NGOs can play in promoting social development.

5. (SBU) Pablo Rojas, secretary general of the National
Committee on Human Rights -- an NGO umbrella organization --
told Poloff the controversy over the law reflects deep
skepticism among the APRA leadership about the role of NGOs
in a representative democracy. According to Rojas, the
suspicion dates to the fall of ex-president Fujimori, when
the APRA party saw firsthand the power of Peruvian NGOs to
effect political change. Rojas says leaders like Mulder and
Gonzales question the legitimacy of social organizations that
are neither democratically elected nor accountable to a
political constituency.

6. (SBU) Comment: Ombudsmen Beatriz Moreno told the
Ambassador September 5 that the most striking feature of the
NGO debate is the unwillingness of both sides to talk.
Moreno said the law was passed with little public debate, and
NGOs immediately went to court to challenge its

constitutionality rather than meet with Congressional leaders
to resolve differences. The lingering animosity between the
two sides resurfaced after the August 15 earthquake in Peru,
when some NGOs charged the central government with purposely
hindering private relief efforts, a charge the administration
flatly denied. Peru's sustained economic growth is giving
the central government unprecedented resources to address
widespread poverty and inevitably is changing the
relationship between the GOP and the NGO community. Neither
side has handled the evolving relationship well, and in the
words of Rojas, "If a major disaster cannot bring us
together, nothing else will." End Comment
NEALON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN SDG: UN Appoints Twenty Eminent Thinkers To Shed New Light On The World’s Greatest Challenges

New York, 21 January 2021 – Twenty prominent personalities, globally renowned for their intellectual leadership in economic and social fields, will form the second United Nations High-level Advisory Board (HLAB) on Economic and Social Affairs, the ... More>>

UN: As COVID Deaths Pass Two Million Worldwide, Guterres Warns Against Self-Defeating ‘Vaccinationalism'

With more than two million lives now lost worldwide to COVID-19, the UN Secretary-General appealed on Friday for countries to work together and help each other to end the pandemic and save lives. In a video statement , Secretary-General António Guterres ... More>>

UN: Violent Attempt At US Capitol To ‘overturn’ Election, Shocking And Incendiary

A group of independent UN rights experts released ... More>>

UN: Guterres To Seek Second Five-year Term
António Guterres will be seeking a second five-year term as UN Secretary-General, which would begin in January 2022.... More>>