Peru, like many Latin American countries, is a multi-racial country with a European, Indigenous, and African descent population, and a rich history of intercultural contact and immigration. Almost 60.2% of the population consists of (Mestizo) mixed Amerindian and white, Amerindian amount form 25.8% of the population and white 5.9%, and 3.6% of African descent (CIA Factbook 2020). Peru has historically been known as a country of destination, with waves of migration arriving throughout the 19th and 20th century. Due to economic and political upheavals, the migration pattern over the last three decades reversed and Peru has seen increased outflow of migrants to neighbouring countries and the US (OECD 2009).
Peru’s constitution affirms multicultural and anti-discrimination legislation, which formally recognizes and protects the ethnic and cultural plurality of the Nation. However, discriminatory actions by the government against Indigenous rights to land have been cited on multiple occasions during the period 1990-2000. New movements within the Peruvian society have started to push for concrete steps towards protecting Indigenous land rights, as a key component of a multicultural policy that respects diversity in the country. As a result, new amendments in the constitution highlighted the components of the multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual basis of diversity in the country. This has led to the adoption of the 2007 “UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People,” recognizing Indigenous contribution and place as integral part within Peruvian society (Arocena 2008).
Peru has attained an overall ICDI score of 0.52. An above average score of 0.7 in the component of intercultural attitudes indicates a positive global social tolerance index and weaker racist attitudes towards other groups. A score of 0.69 in the component of freedoms and rights signals that there is freedom of domestic movement, foreign movement, and travel. In sharp contrast, scores below 0.2 in the components of social contact low levels of intercultural participation, low number of indigenous and low number of immigrants living languages. Similarly, a score of 0.18 in the component of access to communication signal a low diversity of newspapers published, along with low numbers of mobile phone and internet users.
Current Situation and Outlook
Along with its slightly above average score of 0.64 for the opportunities dimension, Peru achieves an average score of 0.53 for its legislative dimensions. A low score in its structural dimension can be attributed to low scores in the components of platforms for social contact and access to communication. Peru can improve its ICDI score by enhancing its legislative dimension via introduction and implementation of multicultural or diversity acts and policies, and improved migrant integration measures. It could also strengthen its opportunities dimension by promoting intergroup relations and facilitating inclusion of minorities. If Peru’s situation around its structural dimension persists, there is a high risk of its cohesion and stability eroding due to sustained lack of access to communication and lack of social contact.