Since 2011, CIDDH has implemented a hotline called The Green Line (or Línea Verde in Spanish) which provides legal information and assistance to all Peruvians who are questioned and arbitrarily arrested for drug use (mostly cannabis). They are provided with personalized information and legal advice in order to avoid persistent abuse and corruption on behalf of law enforcement officers.
The educational component holds a very important place as it establishes guidelines for CIDDH’s operators, law enforcement officers, and especially drug users. As a matter of fact, it allows them to find a common ground when faced with issues such as arbitrary detention of drug users and pretrial detention. It also allows law enforcement officers to better interpret the criminal and constitutional law in terms of proportionality and rationality.
Even though Peru’s Criminal Code does not criminalize the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use (art. 299) – up to 8 gr. of cannabis, Law Enforcement Officers frequently detain drug users by virtue of the Constitution (art. 2.24.f) which states that in cases Illicit Drug Trafficking pretrial detention in Police Stations is effective for up to 15 days – 24 hours for other offences. Law Enforcement Officers threaten drug users based on the latter as a means of achieving a twofold objective: 1) acts of corruption and/or 2) investigate drug users so that they “rat out” petty dealers. As a result of this malpractice, detentions for possession of small amounts of drugs account for roughly 60% of all drug-related detentions . Moreover, law enforcement officers’ actions often result in a threat to a person's physical or psychological integrity
As a watchdog, CIDDH has filed several formal complaints to law enforcement officers regarding the arbitrary detention of drug users, acts of corruption and intimidation, as well as physical abuse. Furthermore, these complaints have been sent to the Ombudsman for further investigation. In this line, CIDDH’s hotline acts as a watchdog at law enforcement level as it prevents such illegal acts. Even though CIDDH’s Hotline has managed to provide legal assistance 47 people, it is challenging to resolve the cases at street level. Despite CIDDH’s efforts to avoid acts of corruption on behalf of law enforcement officers, it has been particularly difficult to achieve this goal as this is a mainstream cultural practice both in Peruvian institutions and society. CIDDH has been able to change Police practices and administrative procedures in some cases as several of Lima’s Police Stations have been acquainted with CIDDH’s hotline and therefore know that when someone who is being arrested at street level for possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use calls CIDDH’s Hotline they do not proceed with the detention.
In order to meet the growing demand of legal information and services at national level, CIDDH on expanding its legal and paralegal services to other cities in Peru. This is why CIDDH is planning on organizing workshops in three different cities – Arequipa, El Agustino (Lima), and Trujillo. These workshops aim at training a lawyer and empower activists in charge of disseminating The Green Line and distributing advocacy material so as to provide legal information and services to cannabis users.
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