UN calls for efficient measures against human rights violations in Brazil

Human Rights Committee analyzes Brazilian public policies on human rights; read about the assessment process

Membros da comitiva do Estado brasileiro em sessão do Comitê de Direitos Humanos da ONU. Foto: Divulgação Membros da comitiva do Estado brasileiro em sessão do Comitê de Direitos Humanos da ONU. Foto: Divulgação

The United Nations is asking Brazil to immediately implement public policies to address the systematic violations of human rights in the country. The request by UN experts was made during the 138th Session of the Human Rights Committee, which, at the end of June, staged a hearing with representatives of the Brazilian government.

After 20 years, Brazil is currently undergoing this UN evaluation process, which began last year when the Bolsonaro government presented a diagnosis of the country to the international body. Now, the delegation led by the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship responded to the concerns of the committee’s 18 experts.

Although the Brazilian delegation, civil society and the committee itself recognized the setbacks caused by the Bolsonaro government, the experts urged Brazil to respond quickly and effectively, indicating that denouncing the errors of the previous administration is not enough.

‘Time frame’ for indigenous peoples

The so-called ‘time frame’ thesis for indigenous lands was one of the topics under discussion. The Brazilian government representatives said that the thesis violates the rights of indigenous peoples, but the UN experts questioned the fact that the Lula government, via the Attorney General’s Office, still defends a position favorable to this thesis in the case analyzing the issue in the Supreme Court, a position that was presented to the Court during the Temer government.

Counter-terrorism laws

The committee also addressed the passage of legislative bills containing counter-terrorism policies. The experts asked whether these new mechanisms would be aligned with international standards and be subject to accountability. In response, the delegation said it is monitoring the discussions in the National Congress and that it is “working to establish more precise criteria to combat terrorism” without, however, “creating provisions that may harm valid and legitimate social demonstrations to claim rights, including the freedoms provided for in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”.

Civil society calls for action  

Conectas, Terra de Direitos, Arns Commission, Geledés – Black Woman’s Institute and APIB (Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil) are some of the local civil society organizations that are accompanying the evaluation process. As the journalist Jamil Chade revealed in his column on the UOL web portal, civil society organizations met with the Brazilian delegation after the hearing and pressured the government to take action, calling on it to not only monitor the problems but to also adopt urgent measures to address human rights violations.

Conectas and partner organizations submitted four reports to the UN committee. It is standard practice for civil society to produce these reports containing important insights for the experts. All the reports can be accessed below (in English): 

Find out more

Receive Conectas updates by email