Sunday, July 08, 2007

'Racist' Lima restaurant closed
Last Updated: Sunday, 8 July 2007, 00:48 GMT 01:48 UK

'Racist' Lima restaurant closed
By Dan Collyns BBC News, Lima

The restaurant is located in the upscale
suburb of Miraflores in Lima

A popular restaurant in Lima has been temporarily closed down after several complaints that people with darker skin were refused entry.

The Café del Mar in Miraflores, a wealthy district of the Peruvian capital, is the first restaurant to be shut for alleged discrimination.
It will be closed for 60 days and was fined about $70,000 (£35,000).
Campaigners hope this is a first step in tackling Peru's deep divisions along racial and economic lines.
Officials from Peru's consumer protection agency and the municipality of Miraflores sealed the doors and placed signs on the entrances.
'Symbolic sanction'
For many human rights campaigners the closure is an important step in combating Peru's racial and economic discrimination.

Wilfredo Ardito is one of them: "This is a symbolic sanction. It is the first time happily that this practice in this terrible act of racial selection of the customer has been closed and we consider that this is the first step."

"Racism is something permanent in our society but it's terrible that even a place open to the public is practising this kind of situation," he said.

The Peruvian government only began imposing fines for discrimination in 2004 but a bill which passed through Congress some months ago reinforces existing legislation with jail sentences for those convicted of racial discrimination.

For centuries the white elite in Peru has held onto wealth and power despite the majority of the population being of indigenous or mixed descent.

But now there is more social mobility in Peruvian society and it seems the government of President Alan Garcia realises that Peru's social and economic inequality is hindering its development.


Last Updated: Monday, 27 November 2006, 22:16 GMT

Iberia in Peru 'prejudice' case
By Dan Collyns BBC News, Lima

A complaint has been made to the
Spanish ambassador in Peru
The Peruvian Congress has made a formal complaint against Spanish airline Iberia after it allegedly discriminated against two indigenous congresswomen.

Maria Sumire and Hilaria Supa say staff prevented them from boarding a plane to Madrid on Saturday while allowing other passengers to go in front of them.

The women - who speak the indigenous language Quechua as their mother tongue - say staff mocked their Spanish.

A spokesman for the airline has denied any discrimination took place.

The women, who were both dressed in clothing typical of women from the Andean region of Peru, said staff told them the plane was full despite the fact they held reserved seats.

Ms Sumire said that when she complained - showing her diplomatic passport - the staff mocked the way she spoke Spanish, telling her she could complain to whoever she liked.


Indignant at her treatment, she said if they as congresswomen were treated this way in their own country, how much worse must it be for fellow indigenous Quechua-speaking Peruvians.

A spokesman for Iberia denied any form of discrimination, saying they arrived after all the seats on the plane had been filled.

But the president of Peru's Congress, Mercedes Cabanillas, has made a formal complaint against the airline to the Spanish ambassador in Peru.

She said Congress felt insulted that two of its representatives had been discriminated against and it would not be tolerated.

Earlier this year, the two women made headlines in Peru and abroad when they announced they would only speak their mother tongue of Quechua in the Peruvian Congress.

One of the nation's official languages, Quechua is spoken by almost a quarter of Peruvians.

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