Conectas legally challenges appointment of intelligence agent to coordinate relations with NGOs

The ABIN intelligence service officer was nominated in March and the person’s identity was not revealed; the measure is illegal and incompatible with the responsibilities of the job

Sede da Abin (Agência Brasileira de Inteligência) em Brasília. Foto: reprodução Sede da Abin (Agência Brasileira de Inteligência) em Brasília. Foto: reprodução

Conectas Human Rights filed a public civil action last Thursday, March 26, requesting the repeal of the ministerial orders that permitted a secret agent from ABIN (Brazilian Intelligence Agency) to join the government team responsible for relations with non-governmental organizations. The lawsuit was filed after the announcement of the appointment of an intelligence officer to occupy the position of coordinator of relations with NGOs by the Presidency of the Republic’s Secretary of Government.

The organization is calling for the suspension of the effects of four ministerial orders from the Presidency of the Republic’s Secretary of Government and the removal of the civil servant so the Executive can appoint another professional to the position who is not associated with the intelligence services.

“Civil society in a democratic country is not and should not be a subject for espionage. Treating society and its forms of organization as enemies, adversaries or as a matter that is sufficiently critical to mobilize the (exceptional) intelligence apparatus demonstrates a clear disconnect with the democratic legal order in effect,” reads the document. 

This is not the first time that Bolsonaro has sought to control the activities of third sector organizations. In January 2019, the president attempted to monitor the activity of non-governmental organizations through Provisional Executive Order No. 870, which established the basic organization of the bodies of the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministries. However, the part of the order referring to the control of NGOs was defeated in the National Congress after strong pressure from the organizations.

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