Following pressure, government publishes Provisional Measure that ensures civil servants will be kept on at the Public Defender’s Office

Measure guarantees 43 branches of the Public Defender’s Office, that could have been closed through understaffing, will stay open

DPU Joinville/Divulgação DPU Joinville/Divulgação

Last Friday (19) a Provisional Measure, MP 888/2019MP, was published in the Diário Oficial da União. This allows for Federal Executive public servants at the Public Defender’s Office to be kept on. They currently represent 63% of the workforce of this institution. 

The text guarantees 43 branches of the Public Defender’s Office will continue functioning. These are located in towns throughout the whole of rural Brazil. Otherwise, these branches could have been closed down through understaffing.

The document was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro following pressure from civil society. In a letter, over 300 organisations expressed repudiation of the possibility of these branches of the Defender’s Office becoming extinct and demanded that the federal government adopt suitable measures to ensure that this institution continues to function as it does now. 

In addition, they also stressed how important it is for these offices to work fully, as they are a tool that provides access to justice for the historically vulnerable, the elderly, children, teenagers, indigenous people and people living on the streets, among others. 

The compulsory return of workers was set out in Law 13.328, of 2016, that had defined a limit of three years for the civil servants to stay at the Public Defender’s Office. Once the deadline was up the institution would have had to return these defenders to their original posts or reimburse the government for the value of the worker’s costs. 

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