A memorial to the victims of the armed conflict
Title: Construction and operation of a memorial for the victims of the armed conflict in Peru
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the High-level Anti-corruption Commission
Overall term: 2010 to 2015
From 1980, Peru was hit by a wave of violence brought on mainly by the guerrilla organisation Sendero Luminoso (shining path). According to the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by 2000 the conflict had claimed more than 70,000 lives. Many people found themselves exposed to this violence without any protection. To this day, the scars run deep throughout Peruvian society. For this reason, it is imperative that Peru examines its violent past and seeks to come to terms with these events, both at an individual level and collectively.
To address this twenty-year conflict, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission has made two central recommendations:
- Initiate legal action to tackle the human-rights violations committed at the time.
- Publicly honour the victims’ memory, including through symbolic acts of remembrance.
Based on recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, a national memorial has been set up in remembrance of the victims of the armed conflict. This memorial helps people to come to terms with the country’s violent past and encourages them to respect and secure human rights while promoting intercultural tolerance and fostering a culture of peace in Peruvian society.
The project operates flexibly, supplementing activities by other international donors. It focuses on three tasks:
- Advising and assisting the Comisión de Alto Nivel (High-level Anti-corruption Commission) with the planning, construction and opening of the ‘Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social’ memorial site in Lima and with donor coordination.
- Cofinancing the construction of the memorial site.
- Contributing to the costs of running the memorial site following its completion.
The memorial will house parts of the permanent photo exhibition entitled ‘Yuyanapaq’ (the Quechua word for ‘remember’) along with other temporary exhibitions dedicated to the victims.
Thanks to the high-level public and political attention it has generated, the project has stimulated an ongoing debate in society about acts of violence and the way forward in terms of healing and closure.
The most important result to date is the societal and political consensus to foster a culture of democracy in Peru and so preclude a renewed outbreak of terrorist violence and human-rights violations.
Now that construction of the memorial is complete, the exhibits are being discussed and designed. The site already provides a setting for the coordination and communication of activities that aim to examine past events. It is also a meeting place for social initiatives focused on reparation and reconciliation. In this way, population groups that have not been confronted with the country's violent past can be made aware of the victims’ suffering.