National Human Rights Council
Government and NGOs debate future of new human rights council
Gathered in Brasília on September 3, representatives of the federal government and civil society participated in a public hearing on the new National Human Rights Council, which was created by Law No. 12,986 to replace the now defunct CDDPH (Council for the Defense of the Rights of the Human Person).
Despite a rocky start, due to a lack of dialogue by the Special Office for Human Rights of the Presidency, the debates identified paths and challenges for the creation of the new body.
One such challenge is representativeness, since the Council has just nine vacancies available for members of civil society. According to the NGOs present at the hearing, this will require the members to play a broad role, marked by the defense of all the sectors concerned. More than 50 organizations have already been authorized to participate in the selection process of the members.
Juana Kweitel, program director at Conectas, stressed during the hearing the need for the functional and financial autonomy of the new body, as well as the maintenance of the CDDPH’s investigative capacity, in order to respect the Paris Principles, which determine the status of national human rights organizations.
According to the organizations that participated in the meeting, the new body must be receptive to the priority agendas of civil society, engage in dialogue with state and municipal level human rights councils and act directly in cases of serious violations, including by sending missions to conduct on-site investigations.