April 20, 2012
Forty-two days after sending its first letter to the Brazilian government calling for the
publication of the report of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT),
Conectas and its NGO partners Justiça Global and Pastoral Carcerária have again
questioned the government this week over the publication of this document, which may
be one of the most accurate depictions of the practice of torture in Brazilian prisons
(read the letter send on April 17).
The report was produced during the SPT’s visit to detention centers, prisons and
internment centers for young offenders in Brazil, in September 2011, and officially
delivered to the Brazilian government on February 8.
“The government has given signals that it plans to publish the report, and some of its
alleged content has already been leaked anonymously to the press. What we are asking
for is transparency and respect for the spirit of the Freedom of Information Law. There
is no reason whatsoever why the document should not be made public now,” said the
executive director of Conectas, Lucia Nader, who signed the letter sent to the Minister
of Human Rights, Maria do Rosário Nunes.
Nearly a month after it was received, the UN report is still being kept from the Brazilian
population. On March 6, Conectas sent its first letter to the Ministry of Foreign
Relations, the Ministry of Justice and the Office of Human Rights calling for the
publication of the document. Shortly after this first request made by Conectas, the
National Justice Secretary, Paulo Abrão, told the press (listen to the interview) that
the government intended to make the content of the report public. However, when
questioned directly by Conectas, on March 26, he replied that “the specific authority
within the Brazilian State on the matter” is the Office of Human Rights.
On March 29, however, the representative of the Office of Human Rights, Michelle
Moraes de Sá e Silva, said in a public hearing before the Senate Commission on Human
Rights and Participative Legislation that the government would only publish the report
when it had concrete measures to announce in response to the UN’s diagnosis.
In the letter sent to the government this week, Conectas countered that although
concrete responses should indeed be announced, they should not be used as an
impediment to the publication of the original document.