In its first act after being installed by President Dilma Rousseff, on December 12, the CNDH (National Human Rights Council) filed a legal case with the Office of the Attorney General against Congressman Jair Bolsonaro for his aggression against the former minister Maria do Rosário.
The day before, in a full session of the Lower House of Congress, Bolsonaro said he would not rape her because she did not “deserve it”.
In addition to this case, which is expected to lead to civil and criminal proceedings, the Council is also set to file a complaint with the Lower House’s Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum Commission requesting the impeachment of the federal congressman.
“Following the lead of the National Human Rights Council, this needs to be treated as a crime against human rights, and the congressman needs to be punished under criminal law so the former minister and all women in our country can get restitution,” said the lawyer Darci Frigo, member of the CNDH and executive coordinator of the non-governmental organization Terra de Direitos (Earth’s Rights).
The indignation over Bolsonaro’s comment has not diminished over the past few days. Several political parties have requested his impeachment for breaching parliamentary decorum – a request publicly defended by the Secretary-General of the Presidency, Gilberto Carvalho. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, meanwhile, has described the congressman’s comments as “unacceptable”.
This Monday, December 15, the Office of the Attorney General sent the Supreme Court an indictment against the congressman for the crime of publicly inciting rape.
What’s still missing, however, is a position from the Legislative Branch. According to Frigo, Congress is in debt to society since this is not the first time that Jair Bolsonaro has spoken out against human rights and the democratic rule of law. “Congress needs to declare that this congressman is not acting within the bounds of parliamentary decorum,” he said.
Rape in Brazil
According to the 8th Annual Report on Brazilian Public Security, more than 50,000 cases of rapes were registered in 2013. However, the study also reveals that only 35% of the victims report the crimes to the police, so it is possible that the actual number is closer to 143,000, according to the document.
Despite these alarming numbers, the congressman publicly suggested that some women may deserve to be raped. The incident may be shocking, but it does not come as a surprise. Now serving his sixth consecutive term in Congress, Bolsonaro has for two decades engaged in hate speech against gays, blacks and human rights defenders.
In February this year, Conectas refuted the 5 main arguments made by Bolsonaro against human rights. If adopted, the congressman’s proposals would not only turn Brazil into an even worse violator of human rights, it would also make the country less democratic and more violent and unsafe for everyone.
Read more: 5 points to refute Bolsonaro