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REGIONS:

PROPOSED NGO LAW THREATENS FREE EXPRESSION

The Institute for Press and Society (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS), Human Rights Watch, the World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) have expressed alarm at proposed amendments to a law in Peru that gives the government powers to deny foreign funds to free expression groups and thousands of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

On 2 November 2006, Peru's Congress passed, on second reading, amendments to Law 27692, under which the country's 3,174 NGO's must provide a list of their donors and projects to the Peruvian International Cooperation Agency (APCI).

The agency has the power to deny foreign funds to NGOs it considers responsible for "disturbing public order" or "damaging property."

President Alan García Pérez has until 17 November to sign the law or send it back to Congress for further amendments. If he gives his assent to the proposed law, IPYS says it will file an appeal with the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the law is unconstitutional.

IPYS says if approved by the president, the law will seriously threaten freedom of expression and press freedom in Peru. It gives the government the power to monitor funds intended to promote free expression and investigative journalism in Latin America, a part of which comes from independent media in the United States and Europe, says IPYS.

"This is an attempt to restrict NGOs' ability to channel [public] criticism of politicians."

Human Rights Watch says the restrictions envisaged in the proposed law would "flagrantly violate Peru?s international obligations to protect freedom of expression, association and assembly."


WHAT YOU CAN DO:


1) Write to President Alan García Pérez urging him not to sign the law.

Send letters to:
Presidencia de la República
Dr. Alan García Pérez - Presidente de la República
Despacho Presidencial,
Plaza Mayor
S/N Cercado de Lima,
Peru;
Tel: (511) 311 3900 / 311 4200;
E-mail: Presidencia@presidencia.gob.pe
2) Ask international organisations to write to the President urging him not to sign the law.

3) Stay informed. Visit these links:

- IPYS: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/78657/
- Human Rights Watch: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/11/09/peru14538.htm
- WPFC: http://www.wpfc.org/ProtestsPeru11906.html
- RSF: http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=19589
- International Center for Not-for-Profit Law: http://www.icnl.org/

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