Five disappearances a day before the pandemic, eight during confinement in 2020 and now sixteen: the disappearances of women register an “alarming” increase in Peru, according to the Office of the Defense of the People. “This is worrying because we are talking about women who are mostly girls and adolescent girls,” said Eliana Revollar, deputy head of women’s rights in this body responsible for ensuring respect for human rights.
During the first half of the year, 2,891 women were reported missing in Peru, a country of 33 million people, an average of 16 per day. Almost two-thirds are minors, according to the same source. During the confinement that took place in Peru between March and June 2020, eight disappearances per day on average were recorded, against five in 2019, according to official figures. “This is an alarming figure, especially since there is a relationship between the disappearances of women and feminicides,” recalls Eliana Revollar.
“There is no serious investigation”
In 2019, a tenth of the 166 femicides recorded in the country were initially classified as disappearances, according to the Defense of the People. During the first half of 2021, 76 feminicides were identified, a figure similar to that of 2020. “We have cases where the companions, after having killed their companion, report their disappearance and (claim) that they are looking for them. »Explains Eliana Revollar.
The families deplore the fact that the police and the judiciary do not take the trouble to investigate these disappearances, assuming that these women have left voluntarily. “There is no serious investigation. We thought that the police were going to help us, but this is not the case, ”laments Patricia Acosta, who has been looking for five years for her 23-year-old daughter and her two granddaughters, who disappeared after participating in a birthday party in Lima. April 24, 2016. “It’s as if the earth had swallowed them up,” says the mother and grandmother of the missing.
In February 2020, the discovery in Lima of the mutilated body of Solsiret Rodriguez, 23, a student and activist against gender-based violence, who disappeared four years earlier, had caused a stir. Her disappearance mobilized feminist associations, but the police claimed that she had gone to the north of the country with a friend. The Minister of the Interior at the time, Carlos Basombrio, had assured the same thing before Parliament. After the body was found, he apologized, acknowledging the lightness of the investigation. The young woman’s brother-in-law and his partner were arrested for her murder.