Senate cancels hearing with Foreign minister ahead of public holiday
Announcement came less than 24 hours before the new minister's first testimony
Conectas regrets the cancellation of the testimony of Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo in the
Senate Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee, scheduled for tomorrow at 10 am. The announcement was made less than 24 hours before the hearing.
The organization sent an official request for information to the Committee on the motive for the cancellation and received the following response by email:
“Due to the public holiday on Friday, Senators serving on the Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee will be traveling on Thursday, on account of the difficulty finding flights. As a result, the quorum of Senators present at this Hearing may be low, so the Chairman of the Committee decided to reschedule the Hearing with the Minister to a later date, to be informed.”
This is the second time the minister’s Senate hearing has been postponed. Since he took over as Minister of Foreign Relations in August, Figueiredo has yet to testify in the Committee – which traditionally occurs at least once a year.
The purpose of the hearing is to explain the general course of Brazilian foreign policy and answer questions from the senators, in an event that raises the opportunity for citizen participation and serves as reminder to the legislative branch that it also has the mandate and the legitimacy to influence foreign policy.
“According to the calendar of the Senate, November 14 is a working day when work should proceed as normal. The fact that it was scheduled to occur on the eve of a public holiday is not a plausible justification for delaying a meeting of such importance, for which civil society was already mobilized,” said Camila Asano, coordinator of Foreign Policy at Conectas.
Following a sizable mobilization on the social networks, Conectas collected nearly 30 questions for Minister Figueiredo. The objective of the campaign “Minister, #IWantToKnow” was to deliver to the senators serving on the Committee relevant questions on foreign policy and human rights. By the time the unjustified cancellation was announced, the questions had already been sent to the senators.
Given that a new date for the hearing was not released, Conectas will forward the questions directly to Minister Figueiredo. The organization will also press for a new hearing to be scheduled and will resume the mobilization as soon as the date is announced.
“We are going to pressure the senators for the hearing to be rescheduled urgently. It is essential for the new minister to testify on foreign policy for society and this has not yet occurred,” added Asano.