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IV. Governance issues

Civil society advocacy work

CPSR-Perú and Privaterra organized trainings in privacy and secure communications for human rights and journalism NGOs in Peru and Colombia.1 In October 2005, CPSR-Perú, Grupo de Estudios en Internet, Comercio Electrónico, Telecomunicaciones e Informática de la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de los Andes (GECTI) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center jointly organized the symposium "The Public Voice: Privacy and Data Protection in Ibero-America: Analysis and Perspectives" where civil society representatives, academic experts and governmental authorities analyzed and debated current public policy issues and recent developments in privacy in Ibero-America.2

In November 2006, the Privacy and Freedom of Information Project (Proyecto Monitor de Privacidad y Acceso a la Inform√°cion en LAC) lead by UNESCO and Alfa-Redi organized the Conference Workshop on Privacy and Freeedom of Information in Latin America (Foro-Taller de Privacidad y Acceso a la Informacion en LAC).3

Open government

A Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information was adopted in August 2002 and amended in January 2003.4 Under the law, every person has the right to request information, without having to explain why, in any form from any government body or private entity that offers public services or executes administrative functions. Documentation funded by the public budget is considered public information. Public bodies must respond within seven working days. There are three exceptions: for national security information, the disclosure of which would cause a threat to the territorial integrity and/or survival of the democratic systems and intelligence or counterintelligence activities; reserved information about crimes and external relations; and confidential information relating to pre-decisional advice, commercial secrets, ongoing investigations, and personal privacy. Information relating to human rights violations and the Geneva Convention of 1949 cannot be classified. The courts, Congress, the General Comtroller, and the Ombudsman can in some cases obtain exempted information. Once administrative procedures are completed and access to documents is rejected, the requestor can claim access to courts under Law 275845 or under Law 26301 for the constitutional habeas data.6 In practice, habeas data is faster and more effective.

The law also requires government departments to create Web sites and publish data on their organization, activities, regulations, budget, salaries, costs of acquisition of goods and services, and official activities of high-ranking officials. Detailed data on public finances has to be published every four months on the Ministry of Economy and Finance's website.7 The Constitutional Tribunal has clearly set down that the right of access to public information imposes upon public administration entities the duty to inform, and ruled that the information that is provided must not be false, incomplete, fragmentary, or confusing.8

International obligations

Peru is a signatory of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the American Convention on Human Rights. The American Convention provides that every person has "the right to have his honor respected and his dignity recognized." Additionally, "no one may be the object of arbitrary or abusive interference with his private life, his family, his home, or his correspondence, or of unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation. And everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

Peru accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on January 21, 1981. It withdrew from the jurisdiction of that court in July 1999, but returned on January 12, 2001. According to Article 205 of the Constitution, "after exhausting internal remedies, those who consider themselves denied the rights recognized in the Constitution may resort to international tribunals or organs constituted by treaty or agreement to which Peru is a party."