Press Release: Sergei Magnitsky Posthumously Honoured by the Allard Prize Committee for International Integrity

5 October 2015 – Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian lawyer who exposed a $230 million corrupt scheme by Russian officials, has been posthumously honoured by the Allard Prize Committee for International Integrity. The recognition comes one month before the 6thanniversary of his murder in Russian police custody at the age of 37.

Sergei Magnitsky’s mother, wife and son attended the award ceremony held in Vancouver, Canada at the University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law.

On accepting the honourable recognition on behalf of Sergei Magnitsky, his mother said:

“I would like to thank all people who remember Sergei. Because when the person is remembered, that person is alive. I recently saw a person who said I am alive because of Sergei’s sacrifice.”

Valery Borschev, chair of the Moscow Public Oversight Commission, who investigated how Sergei Magnitskyhad been tortured and murdered in police custody, said:

“Magnitsky lived like Solzhenitsyn wrote – don’t be afraid, don’t beg. I think he is a hero.”

Sergei Magnitsky was one of four finalists for the 2015 Allard Prize for International Integrity. The other finalists included Indonesia Corruption Watch, and two recipients of the prize – John Githongo, who exposed a $1 billion corruption scandal in the Kenyan government, and Rafael Marques de Morais, a journalist writing on issues of conflict diamonds and army brutality in Angola. (View the Allard Prize short film about Sergei Magnitsky and the other finalists)

The Allard Prize for International Integrity recognizes individuals and organisations who show exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption.

Sergei Magnitsky’s name has become synonymous with the lack of rule of law in Russia. His torture and killing in Russian police custody after he uncovered and testified about Russian officials involved in the $230 million theft has led to the adoption of the 2012 Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act in the United States which imposes targeted sanctions in the form of visa bans and asset freezes on those involved in his case, as well as in other gross human rights abuses. A Global Magnitsky Bill which would apply similar sanctions to cases of human rights violations around the world is currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate after its approval by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

For more information please contact:


+44 207 440 1777




Twitter: @KatieFisher__


Kunduz Takeover Underscores Taliban’s Threat in Afghanistan

By Christine Khamis

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia


KABUL, Afghanistan –

On Monday, Taliban militants captured Kunduz, a provincial capital in Afghanistan. Afghan military forces regained the center of Kunduz on Thursday, but Taliban soldiers still remain in other areas of the city.

Kunduz, a city of 300,000, was taken over by the Taliban before dawn on Monday, taking Afghan troops and police by surprise. The Taliban occupied Kunduz for three days before retreating as Afghan forces regained control of the city center.

The Taliban has been accused of committing extrajudicial killings and other atrocities including rape and torture against civilians during its three-day takeover. The militants also looted Kunduz’s banks and military weaponry and set fire to government buildings.

Taliban fighters hugging after their takeover of Kunduz (Photo courtesy of BBC News)

The capture of Kunduz was a victory for the Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, because it is one of the most strategic and wealthy cities in Afghanistan and is the first provincial capital to fall to the Taliban since the U.S. intervened in 2001.

The Deputy Chief of Staff for the Afghan army, Murad Ali Murad, has stated that most Taliban fighters had fled Kunduz, but that some are hiding in the homes of the civilians. A spokesman for the Taliban told Reuters that Taliban forces had retreated to the edges of Kunduz in an effort to surround Afghan and U.S. soldiers.

Thousands of civilians are reported to have fled from Kunduz during the fighting. The number of civilians killed during the fighting in Kunduz is currently unknown. As of Wednesday, around 30 people had been killed and around 340 were wounded.

Hospitals in Kunduz are running low on supplies due to Taliban roadblocks on the route from Kabul to Kunduz. Medical professionals are unable to get to the hospitals due to continued fighting in Kunduz.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has doctors working in Kunduz, has expressed growing concerns about the welfare of Kunduz citizens and the lack of proper medical supplies and personnel. The ICRC has emergency medical supplies ready to be flown when it is safe to land at Kunduz airport, which has been the staging area for Afghan forces attempting to retake control of the city.

The Taliban has started to gain ground recently, raising the question of whether NATO-trained Afghan security forces are prepared to face the Taliban’s insurgency on their own. NATO forces ended their combat mission in Afghanistan last year, but there are currently around 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan who have the role of training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces.

Before the Taliban regime was overturned by a U.S.-led intervention in 2001, its five-year-long rule over Afghanistan was characterized by acts such as public executions and the denial of rights to women.


For more information, please see:

New York Times – U.S. Strikes Positions in Afghanistan as Taliban Gain Momentum – 2 October 2015

Reuters – Afghan Forces Push Into Taliban-Held Kunduz City Amid Fierce Clashes – 2 October 2015

Reuters – Taliban Hold Out in Northern Afghan City, District in Northeast Falls – 2 October 2015

BBC News – Taliban Triumph in Capture of Kuduz – 1 October 2015

CNN – Why the Taliban Takeover of Kunduz is a Big Deal – 29 September 2015






Coalition Demands Russia Focuses Attacks on the Islamic State

By Brittani Howell

Impunity Watch Reporter, The Middle East

DAMASCUS, Syria –On Friday, over the course of 24 hours, Russia launched 18 airstrikes in Syria. The Russian Defense Ministry reported 18 attacks against 12 Islamic State facilities.

Man rides past the rubble of Wednesday’s airstrike in northern Hama. (Photo Courtesy of Reuters).

There is doubt in the International Community that Russia is only attacking the Islamic State. Many of the targeted areas are located in the western and northern parts of Syria. The Islamic State is mostly present in eastern areas in Syria.

The US-led coalition urged Russians, “to immediately cease its attacks on the Syrian opposition and civilians and to focus its efforts on fighting ISIL.” It continued, “We express our deep concern with regard to the Russian military build-up in Syria and especially attacks by the Russian Air Force on Hama, Homs, and Idlib since yesterday which led to civilian casualties and did not target Da’esh.”

Da’esh, ISIL, and ISIS are all acronyms for the Islamic State.

Russian warplanes flew over the Homs province on Friday. Homs province, which was under attack earlier this week, is held by anti-Assad rebels, but lacks an Islamic State presence. Prayers were cancelled Friday in fear that the mosques would be targeted.

On Thursday, a mosque located in Jisr al-Shughour was destroyed by a Russian airstrike. The mosque had been taken over by Islamic insurgents earlier this year.

Khdaier Khushfa, a Syrian activist, spoke with CNN and reported 17 civilian deaths in Talbiseh and 11 civilian deaths in Zafaraniya, as a result of Russian airstrikes on Wednesday.

Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, stated, “I would like to stress that there were no strikes against civilian infrastructure, especially against buildings where there could have been or were peaceful residents.”

The U.N. Special Envoy to Syria had to suspend humanitarian operations as a result of the attacks. The operation would have allowed for safe passage out of Zabadoni for Sunni insurgents and their families, in return for the safe passage for Shi’ite families in Foua and Kfarya.

Syrian rebel training camps were struck by two Russian airstrikes on Thursday. The rebel group in Idlib is backed by the CIA and is tasked with aiding in the fight against the Islamic State. No deaths were reported for the attacks on the training camps.

Russian’s support for Assad stems from ties between Assad’s father and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Russia believes Assad should be at the center of the efforts to fight militants. The coalition, on the other hand, blames Assad for attacking citizens, which led to radicalizations of the rebels.

It is alleged that Russia’s support for Assad may be a driver for the airstrikes that were conducted in areas with very little to no Islamic State presence.

For more information, please see:

CNN – Spokesman: Russia Launches 18 Attacks in Syria in the Last 24 Hours – 2 October 2015

Reuters – U.S., Allies Demand Russia to Halt Syria Strikes Outside IS Areas – 2 October 2015

The Associated Press – The Latest: Hollande: Only 1 of Russia’s Raids Hits IS – 2 October 2015

The New York Times – Russia Hits ISIS Territory in Syria with Airstrikes but Ignores Western Demands – 2 October 2015

Syria Deeply: Under Russian Bombs, Syrians Speak out

Dear Readers,

Welcome to the weekly Syria Deeply newsletter. In addition to our special coverage of this week’s United Nations General Assembly summit, an annual meeting of global leaders that largely focused on the situation in Syria, we have rounded up the most important stories and developments about Syria and the Syrians in order to bring you valuable news and analysis.

Under Russian Bombs, Syrians Speak Out

As Russian fighter jets carried out their second straight day of air raids this week, Syria Deeply spoke to people on the ground about their reactions to Moscow’s military intervention.

‘A Huge Hole in Our Lives’

Exactly three years after her father’s disappearance, 21-year-old Raneem Ma’touq told Syria Deeply her family’s story and what life is like for human rights defenders and their loved ones in Syria.

My Syria Diary Part 41

Marah, a teenage girl from one of Syria’s besieged cities, shares her stories of life in the war. She recently moved to Damascus to continue her education, deciding to focus her college studies on prosthetics, which she hopes to use to help heal the injured in her country’s conflict.

More Recent Stories

Syrian National Council: ‘We Have One Condition – There Is No Future for Assad’
• Moscow Strikes, Washington Watches 
U.N. General Assembly: Syrian Analyses 9/30
• U.N. General Assembly: Syrian Analyses 9/29

Find our new reporting and analysis every weekday at You can reach our team with any comments or suggestions at

The Battle for Borno

By Tyler Campbell

Impunity Watch Reporter, Africa


ABUJA, Nigeria – The Nigerian state of Borno is caught in the middle of a violent struggle between the new Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and a militant Islamist group, Boko Haram. The latest acts of violence happened on October 1, when a number of explosions ripped through the city of Maiduguri, the capitol of Borno. This latest attack is believed to have taken 14 lives.

(Site of a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomb attack from June in Borno Photo courtesy of The Gardian)

The fight between Boko Haram and the Nigerian establishment has been raging for quite some time. It recently intensified when the new Nigerian president Buhari took office. Before he has elected Buhari published a list of a 100 promises to the Nigerian people. One of these promises was that he would eliminate rebel and terrorist groups like Boko Haram. These types of groups have long plagued Nigeria. Buhari’s war against them was a main selling point that helped him take Nigerian presidency.


Since Buhari took office there have been multiple attacks throughout Nigeria and spilling into Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. On August 12 a bomb went off in Sabon Gari, a southern Borno city, which killed 28 and injured 79. More recently was the blast that happened on the first of October in the capitol of Borno. (Described above) This attack left 14 dead and 39 others injured. Four of the dead were believed to be the suicide bombers. Yesterday, two bombs went off near Abuja, the capitol of Nigeria. This attack took the lives of 21. All three of these attacks were claimed by Boko Haram. These three attacks, with multiple others, put the death toll from Boko haram related deaths at 1,260 since Buhari took office in May.


Even with all the casualties Buhari has not relented on his stance of eliminating terrorist organizations in Nigeria. He has even given his military commanders a deadline of November to achieve his goal, which seems unlikely to be met at this time.


The fight against Boko Haram has not been all negative. The same day as bombs went off in Borno the Nigerian army announced that 80 Boko Haram militants had surrendered. The captured 80 consisted of commanders tp to food suppliers but included no big names in the Boko Haram organization. Surrender has been held out as the only option for these terrorist organizations by the Nigerian army. It is this or face “total annihilation” a statement from the army said. “Achievement of total peace is a must.”




For more information, please see:


All Africa ­– Maiduguri Bomb Blast – 14 Killed By Four Suicide Bombers – 2 October 2015

The Guardian – Boko Haram suspected after Nigerian capital Abuja hit by bomb blasts – 2 October 2015

The Guardian – Explosions hit Nigerian city in suspected Boko Haram suicide attacks – 1 October 2015

BBC – Nigeria market blast ‘kills 28 in Borno’ – 12 August 2015

Fuel Rationed in Nepal During Ongoing Protests and Political Strife With India

By Christine Khamis

Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia



Nepal began rationing fuel on Monday due to concerns about an impending fuel shortage. A fuel shortage appears likely due to disruption at checkpoints on the Nepal-India border caused by ongoing protests over Nepal’s new constitution. India, from which Nepal imports all of its fuel, has decreased its export of petroleum into Nepal.

State-owned oil company Nepal Oil Corporation, which handles all imports and sales of petroleum in Nepal, has requested that consumers curtail their petroleum usage and only use petroleum when absolutely necessary. The company has also started to ration all fuel and has set guidelines for fixed fuel quotas for different types of vehicles. A spokesman for Nepal Oil Corporation, Deepak Baral, has stated that Nepal will run out of fuel within the next 10 days.

People in Kathmandu wait in line to fill vehicles with petrol. (Photo courtesy of Time)

Border checkpoint officials in Nepal state that Indian custom officials have prevented trucks carrying petroleum from entering Nepal for several days. Protestors have been staging sit-ins at border checkpoints. A spokesman for the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, Abhay Kumar, has stated that truck drivers are afraid to enter Nepal due to security concerns.

Nepalese officials accuse India of imposing an economic blockade because of India’s disagreement with Nepal’s ratification of its new constitution. Vikas Swarup, the spokesman for India’s Foreign Ministry, denies that there is any type of blockade. A statement on the Foreign Ministry’s website on September 25 said that “the reported obstructions are due to unrest, protests, and demonstrations on the Nepalese side, by sections of their population.”

On September 20, Nepal instituted a new constitution which has been the source of mass protests. The protests have resulted in over 40 deaths so far. India criticized Nepal’s leadership for enacting the new constitution despite the ongoing protests. Nepal did not address India’s concerns regarding the new constitution.

The new constitution was meant to promote unity and stability in Nepal, but the redistricting of Nepal into seven separate provinces has angered many. Nepal’s ethnic minority groups, the Tharus and Madhesi, believe that they will receive unequal rights and unequal government representation under the new constitution.

Nepal was ravaged by earthquakes earlier this year, and land supply routes to China, another of Nepal’s trade partners, were destroyed. Consequently, Nepal has been increasingly dependent on India for imported goods since the earthquakes.


For more information, please see:

Time – Nepal Rations Fuel Amid Worsening Political Crisis and Alleged Indian Blockade – 29 September 29, 2015

Wall Street Journal – Nepal Rations Fuel Amid Concerns of Shortage – 29 September 2015

The Himalayan Times – Nepal Oil Corporation Enforces Rationing of Fuel – 27 September 2015

New York Times – Nepal Rations Fuel as Political Crisis With India Worsens – 28 September 2015

Reuters – Update 1: Nepal Considers Fuel Rationing as Protestors Block Trucks – 26 September 2015

United Nations Human Rights Council – 30thSession: Human Rights Groups Disappointed with International Response to Sudan Conflict

October 2, 2015

Voices for Sudan, International Justice Project, andDarfur Relief and Documentation Centre express their deep concern and disappointment over the outcome of this year’s discussion and, ultimately, today’s passage of an unsatisfactory resolution on Sudan delivered by Algeria on behalf of the Group of African States under Agenda Item 10 at the 30th Session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council.  President of Voices for Sudan, Jimmy Mulla, states, “The human rights situation in Sudan continues to deteriorate while impunity is the norm. Such a situation cannot be adequately addressed under Item Ten, as was decided today. Sudan should be returned to Agenda Item Four, where it can be properly monitored and assessed.”

The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body comprised of 47 Member States with a mandate to promote and protect human rights. This year’s three-week meeting took place in Geneva from September 14 – October 2, 2015, and examined a host of allegations of serious human rights abuses occurring around the world, not least of which included the horrific situation in the Sudan, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan.

The Independent Expert for the Sudan, Mr. Aristide Nononsi, highlighted many of these abuses through his written and oral report to the Council on Tuesday, September 29, 2015, including the “fatal shootings, injuries and destruction of property” during the oil-subsidy demonstrations in September 2013 and the raids and shut-down of civil society organizations in the beginning of this year. Yet, noticeably missing from the report is the mass rapes and violence perpetrated in Tabit, North Darfur, in October 2014.  The incident, as documented by Human Rights Watch, was only mentioned during oral responses by the United States and United Kingdom, who expressed regret that no independent report was conducted.

Responses from delegations, such as the US, EU, UK, Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand confirmed the majority of concerns expressed, and even stressed the importance of assessing and reporting human rights violations in the country, as Mr. Nononsi declared – despite protests from the Government of Sudan – as part of his mandate. Yet, in spite of the Independent Expert’s report verifying many of the abuses documented by the UN and civil society groups leading up to this year’s Council, he laments that, “Despite some progress made in the legislative reform, some remaining challenges severely impede any significant improvement in the overall situation of human rights […] recommendations made by the previous mandate holder remain largely unimplemented”. However, with today’s decision to keep Sudan under Agenda Item Ten for “Technical assistance and capacity-building”,  it is hard to imagine that the situation will improve in the coming twelve months before the Independent Expert’s next report.

As civil society closely monitoring the situation on the ground and tirelessly advocating for Sudan to be placed back on the agenda, we were hopeful that Sudan would be returned to Item Four as a “human rights situation that requires the Council’s attention”. Even the High Commissioner for Human Rights himself singled out Sudan and South Sudan for hosting serious human rights violations. Given the positive responses from many delegations and officials leading up to – and even during – the Council, we and others believed that even if Sudan was not returned to Agenda Item Four, the Resolution would at minimum contain language that more accurately reflected the grim reality on the ground.  With an estimated 1.4 million people from the Nuba Mountains region of Southern Kordofan internally displaced within Sudan and over half a million newly displaced in Darfur in 2014 alone, it is clear that  mere “technical and capacity-building” assistance is simply not enough.

Abdalmageed Haroun of Voices for Sudan states that “the outcome of this year’s Council has a very real and negative impact on human rights on the ground in my country. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) continues its campaign of massive attacks on the villages and civilians. For any chance of change, this will require close monitoring.” Haroun continues, “I am deeply concerned about the human rights defenders in Sudan, who have been arrested and tortured by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), and for average civilians being killed daily. The attacks are the policy of the government. Words are not sufficient, serious action by the Council is needed in Sudan.”

Monica Feltz of  International Justice Project states, “This year marks ten years since the UN Security Council referred the Darfur situation to the ICC, yet the bloodshed not only continues, but indeed, has intensified. With the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s December 2014 announcement to ‘hibernate’ the Darfur cases, and the horrifying accounts of mass rapes in Tabit and increasing bombings and displacement throughout Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, civil society was really counting on the Council to step up and take a strong stance against impunity in Sudan.” She continues, “In my discussions with many Sudanese gathered here this week, it is clear they feel let down by the international community once again.”

In the end, the result of this year’s Council serves as a painful reminder that the priority of many African Union and Arab League states to protect one another comes at the expense of justice and accountability for countless victims within Sudan and throughout Africa. The numbers of dead and displaced continue to increase throughout the country, while the Government of Sudan’s alliances grow stronger. A frightening message is also being sent that using genocide and crimes against humanity as policies in a ruler’s toolkit is simply par for the course.

Yet, the fight for justice and peace in Sudan must go on. It is critical that Sudan-focused civil society groups continue to work together and advocate against violent and oppressive regimes in order to fulfill the Council’s mandate to promote and protect human rights and victims that are too often forgotten.

For more information, please contact Jimmy Mulla of Voices for Sudan at jmulla@voicesforsudan.orgor Monica Feltz of International Justice Project Arabic & French translations to come.

1400 16th Street N.W # 430, Washington, DC 20036.

ICTJ | In Focus: Paper Highlights Progress and Challenges So Far in Tunisia’s Transition

In Focus


ICTJ Paper Highlights Progress and Challenges So Far in Tunisia’s TransitionICTJ Paper Highlights Progress and Challenges So Far in Tunisia’s TransitionTunisia continues to take steps to fulfill its commitments under its ground-breaking Transitional Justice Law and realize the goals of the 2011 revolution. But a rocky start to the country’s new truth commission and proposed reconciliation-cum-amnesty legislation could undermine these efforts, according to a new paper by ICTJ.Read More…

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State Repression and Polarized Politics Thwart Hopes for Justice in EgyptState Repression and Polarized Politics Thwart Hopes for Justice in EgyptAfter toppling Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship in February 2011, Egyptians were eager for a reckoning with past injustices. But after years of political turmoil, the possibility of a genuine transitional justice process in Egypt is uncertain. We turned to three leading Egyptian activists to examine if there really is a chance for justice and reform in Egypt in the near future.Read More…




Tunisia in Transition: One Year After the Creation of the Truth and Dignity CommissionThis briefing paper details and analyzes the progress made so far in Tunisia to implement its historic Transitional Justice Law, with a particular focus on the Truth and Dignity Commission, created one year ago.

Squaring Colombia’s Circle: The Objectives of Punishment and the Pursuit of PeaceThis paper weighs the possible modes and competing policy objectives of punishing FARC members for serious crimes in the context of Colombia’s ongoing peace negotiations. It argues that punishment has to occur in a way that does not damage one of the underlying objectives of the peace process, transforming the FARC from an insurgent group into a political actor.

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New Zealand Criticizes Australian Deportation Laws; Hundreds Face Deportation

By Samuel Miller
Impunity Watch Reporter, North America and Oceania

SYDNEY, Australia — New Zealand has criticized Australia for detaining and deporting hundreds of New Zealanders under tough new immigration laws, saying the new laws were undermining the historically close ties between the two neighbors. The laws, introduced last year, mean any non-Australian criminal imprisoned for a year or more can have their permit to live in Australia revoked.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. (Photo Courtesy of BBC News)

Since December, anyone who isn’t an Australian citizen and who has served a sentence of 12 months or more can be deported.

Following revelations that about 300 New Zealanders had been detained in Australia and faced deportation, John Key, the New Zealand Prime Minister, accused the Australian government of picking and choosing which citizens it kept.

“There’s people that have often spent their entire lives now in Australia, they went over there when they were very, very, young,” he told Radio New Zealand. “It’s a bit little bit like the Australians saying, ‘well, we’re going to pick and choose, we’re going to keep the ones we like but we’re going to send back the ones we don’t like’.”

About 200 New Zealanders are currently believed to be in detention, including some on a remote offshore center on Christmas Island, following Australia’s decision to allow deportations of all foreign citizens who have served a prison sentence of 12 months or more. About 100 New Zealanders have already been deported from Australia’s jurisdiction.

New Zealand officials can deport foreign citizens who commit crimes but the powers have been used sparingly. About 14 Australians have reportedly been deported in the past four years.

The region has recently come under scrutiny by the international community following multiple reports from distressed New Zealanders over their impending deportation.

Two weeks ago, Junior Togatuki, a 23-year-old New Zealander, took his own life after being detained in a high-security center while awaiting deportation. He had left New Zealand at age four and served a sentence for robbery and assault.

New Zealand last week deported a man from the tiny Pacific island nation of Kiribati who launched a failed bid to become the world’s first climate change refugee. Ioane Teitiota failed to persuade a court in New Zealand that he should be allowed to stay because rising seas around Kiribati threatened him and his family.

Another imminent deportee, Ricardo Young, 29, has lived in Australia since he was four and his partner and daughter live in Sydney. He is currently on Christmas Island awaiting deportation after serving a two-year prison sentence for aggravated robbery and assault.

Responding to New Zealand’s accusations, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s new prime minister, would meet with Mr. Key to try to resolve the dispute.

For more information, please see:

ABC Online — New Zealand raises deportation of its citizens with Australian Government – 30 September 2015

BBC News — Australia deportation laws criticised by NZ prime minister – 30 September 2015

The Telegraph — New Zealand condemns Australia for mass deportation of Kiwis – 30 September 2015

SKY News — Thousands of Kiwis could be deported – 29 September 2015

Peru Declares State of Emergency Following Protests

By Kaitlyn Degnan
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America

LIMA, Peru — Four people have died following clashes with police during protests in Apurímac, in the Cotabambas province in southern Peru. Another fifty protesters and police officers were injured, and about twenty-one protesters were arrested.

Protesters at the Las Bambas copper mining project in Peru. (Photo courtesy of the BBC).

The demonstrations were against the Chinese-backed mining project at Las Bambas, owned by China’s MMG Ltd. The copper mine will be Peru’s largest, and is scheduled to begin production in May or June of 2016.

The communities in the area initially supported the Las Bambas project, but attitudes changed after an adjustment to the environmental impact assessment was made without consulting area residents. There are concerns that the mine could contaminate water sources and that the project isn’t creating enough jobs for residents.

The demonstrations, which began last Friday, escalated on Monday once protesters began gathering on mine owned land near Challhuahuacho. The official and alleged eyewitness accounts of what happened differ.

Peruvian authorities reported that police used non-lethal weapons until they were attacked by protesters breaking into Las Bambas property. Others have claimed that police began shooting live bullets as soon as the protesters tried to enter the property.

The state of emergency allows for a suspension of constitutional rights, including freedom of assembly and movement. Police will be allowed to search homes without a warrant.

Protesters have agreed to a 24 hour truce in the hopes of holding talks with the government.

Protests in Peru over mining projects have increased in recent years, with frequent escalation. Demonstrations against the Tia Maria copper mine back in May turned deadly and prompted a sixty day state of emergency.

The Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Peru reports more than 200 active social conflicts.

Peru is ranked third in the world for copper exports, representing about one tenth of the country’s economic output and 58% of its exports.

For more information, please see:

Argentina Independent – Peru: State of Emergency After Four Killed in Anti-Mining Protests – 30 September 2015

BBC – Peru declares state of emergency in mining region – 30 September 2015

Buenos Aires Herald – Four killed in anti-mining protests in Peru – 30 September 2015

LA Times – Peru protesters lift blockade at China-funded mine in hopes of talks – 30 September 2015

Latin America News Dispatch – Peru Declares State of Emergency Over Anti-Mining Protest Deaths – 30 September 2015