Dozens of human rights organizations from across the country have come together in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the situation that occurred in 2013, when the presidency of the Commission on Human Rights and Minorities (CDHM) of the Lower House of Congress was used as political currency when the pastor Marco Feliciano was appointed head of the body and he adopted a notoriously discriminatory agenda.
During his term in the helm, Feliciano closed the Commission’s doors to public participation and supported proposals such as Legislative Bill 234/2011, which authorized the provision of psychological treatment for homosexuality (commonly known as the “gay cure bill”).
In 2014, the CDHM was once again the target of candidates that have historically been anti-human rights, such as the right-wing congressman Jair Bolsonaro, who ran for the position independently but lost by just two votes.
In a statement sent to party leaders in Congress, the organizations called on the members of the house to make their choice “respecting the historical struggle for rights waged by this Commission”.
“Since its creation, in 1995, the CDHM has been the preeminent place within this legislative house for guaranteeing the fundamental rights of vulnerable social groups and minorities, whether by listening to these groups, by resisting legislative bills aimed at suppressing their rights or by proposing new rights to be recognized,” reads the statement.
Click here to read the statement in full.
Created in 1995, the CDHM is one of the 21 thematic commissions in the lower house of Congress. Among its duties are to “contribute to the realization of human rights”. In practice, the work of the Commission consists of receiving, evaluating and investigating claims of human rights violations, discussing and voting on legislation in its thematic area, inspecting and monitoring government programs, collaborating with civil society organizations, conducting research and studies on the human rights situation in Brazil and the world, and handling issues related to ethnic and social minorities.