At the UN, Brazil denies the gravity of the coronavirus

In a note, the Arns Commission and Conectas expose inconsistencies in the stance adopted by Brazilian diplomatic representatives

Occupancy of beds in Intensive Care Units has reached up to 80% in 13 capitals in Brazil Occupancy of beds in Intensive Care Units has reached up to 80% in 13 capitals in Brazil

On July 3, Conectas and the Arns Commission published a joint note in response to the Brazilian government´s statements at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. According to the note, on the two occasions that Brazilian diplomats spoke they tried to convey the government´s responsible commitment to fighting the pandemic, which is not conducive with the truth. 

The organisations also outline points on which Brazil has failed to adequately meet the needs of the most vulnerable groups of people, including serious gaps in access to emergency assistance, as well as a lack of policies to ensure the safety of indigenous and black people in terms of food, finances and health.

At the session the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed her concern to countries who continue to refute the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


To read the note in full, see below: 

The Arns Commission and Conectas, participants, by remote connection, in the UN Human Rights Council, would like to express their consternation and disagreement at the statements made by the Brazilian government in Geneva. Following the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet´s comments, in which she voiced her concern regarding countries that deny the gravity of the new coronavirus, citing Brazil, Burundi, Nicaragua, Tanzania, and the United States, the Brazilian delegation spoke twice in defence of what we deem indefensible in the current climate.

The way Brazil was represented in diplomatic speeches was quite disconnected from real situation in Brazil and this can be divided into three topics, one of which is the response to civil society organisations, including Conectas and the Arns Commission:

  1. The announcement made by the Bolsonaro government regarding emergency assistance for 50 million people did not take into account delays and the numerous difficulties of access faced by thousands of people.
  2. The general statement that measures had been taken to sustain economic activity does not reflect the fact that these have not been enough to limit a deepening recession and to ease unemployment figures which are currently in the region of 13 million people.
  3. Financial and food security for the most vulnerable sectors, another aspect of the Brazilian message, is a far cry from the real conditions being experienced by indigenous people, people living on the streets, low-income single mothers, black people and those living in underprivileged areas on the periphery.

As far as SUS (the public health service) is concerned, highly praised in Geneva by official voices, this is not the merit of a government that has not been committed to saving lives or to correcting the chronic underfunding of the system, for over a decade. SUS is a victory of the Nation.

Brazilian diplomatic representatives gave assurances that the country is experiencing a ´vibrant democracy´. This should be corrected to a ´resilient democracy´.

Brazilians are currently facing considerable demands. On a daily basis they are confronted with soaring deaths from Covid-19, irresponsible official questioning of WHO guidelines and above all a lack of future prospects for most of the population, particularly, and as always, the poorest and most vulnerable.

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