(Washington, DC) - Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori should be extradited from Japan to Peru, where he faces trial on charges of human rights violations and corruption, Human Rights Watch and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) said today. The two organizations called on the U.S. government to provide vigorous support for efforts to extradite Fujimori.

The United States has a historic opportunity to show its unequivocal support for human rights and democracy in Peru by backing the Peruvian government's extradition request," said WOLA Senior Associate Coletta Youngers.

Following the collapse of the Fujimori government, Peru embarked on a difficult path of democratic transition and national reconciliation, having endured years of authoritarian rule and political violence in the 1980s and 1990s.

Since leaving Peru with the collapse of his authoritarian regime in 2000, Fujimori has led a comfortable life in Japan, where he has enjoyed complete impunity from justice.

"It is an affront to those in Peru who suffered from human rights abuses under his rule that Fujimori remains a fugitive from justice," said José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch. "The authoritarian nature of the Fujimori regime exacerbated Peru's human rights crisis, which was characterized by torture, forced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions."

WOLA and Human Rights Watch announced they are joining Peru's Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos, an umbrella group of over 60 of Peru's key human rights groups, in launching an international campaign: "Fujimori Extraditable." The campaign aims to educate the international community, gain the support of governments around the world, and encourage the Japanese government to extradite former President Fujimori.

"It is the responsibility of the international community to insure that these crimes are punished," said Youngers.