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Peru suffered a period of internal violence from 1980-2000 which cost the lives of 70,000 people and displacement of hundreds of thousands from the countryside to the cities. Many also suffered torture, rape and other forms of violence. Most of those who were worst affected were the rural, Quechua-speaking farmers.

From 1983 the Shining Path controlled many parts of the Andes and the population lived in fear of army reprisals and revenge killings. During this time the population of a small village called Putis fled up to the high mountains and lived at around 4,500m above sea level. In December 1984 the army installed a base near the village and the population returned under the promise of protection. However, in what turned out to be one of the most brutal acts of the conflict, on December 13th, the army systematically raped, tortured and killed the women, and made the men dig what they thought would be a fishpond, but which ended up being their own grave. Over 100 people died that morning in cold blood, many of them women and children under 10.

This massacre was covered up by the army who buried the bodies in shallow graves. The rest of the population fled to the cities and the area was under army control until 2000. After visits by a journalist and members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the massacre was uncovered and the graves were eventually dug up in 2008. A year later the remains of 92 bodies were handed over to family members for a dignified burial. The population is slowly returning to rebuild their lives, and a road has been built. Local and regional governments have promised to rebuild the school and medical centre, but so far progress has been slow.   

At the pressure of Paz y Esperanza, Peru and other human rights organisations an investigation has opened up to find those responsible for the massacre and to hold them accountable. They have hitherto only been identified through their nicknames and the army is refusing to reveal their true identities.

Paz y Esperanza will continue to accompany the villagers in their quest for justice, as well as in rebuilding the community both physically and socially.