A report of preliminary observations by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on a week-long visit to Brazil expresses concern about the state of human rights and human rights enforcement in South America’s largest country. (The report is currently available only in Portuguese and can be found at http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2018/ObservPrelPOR_Brasil.pdf.)
The visit took place from November 5 to 12, 2018, over 20 years after the Commission’s first to Brazil in 1995. During the visit, the delegation, headed by the IACHR President, Margarette May Macaulay, visited eight of 26 states, including Bahia, Maranhão, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Rio de Janeiro, Roraima and São Paulo. As stated in the Commission’s Press Release, the delegation aimed to meet all levels of government and to observe and assess “discrimination, inequality, poverty, democratic institutions and public policies on human rights[,particularly] …the situation of persons of African descent and traditional Afro-descendant peoples (Quilombolas); indigenous communities and peoples; peasants and rural workers; the urban population living in poverty, human rights defenders; people deprived of their liberty and migrants, among others”.
On the last day of the visit, Macaulay commented on the delegation’s initial findings at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro. To many, these comments and the Commission’s report on preliminary observations are particularly timely in light of the recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, who will take office on January 1, 2019 and has been criticized for his far-right views and anticipated approach to leadership such as plans to loosen gun laws and protection of land rights and of police who commit crimes. The observations in both Macaulay’s statement and report highlight the high prevalence of violence, including that against black women and that committed by police, and other human rights violations against vulnerable groups such as transgender people, human rights activists, people experiencing homelessness among others.
The report suggests that the Commission is uncertain of Brazil’s commitment to protecting and enforcing the human rights of its inhabitants. Although observations at the press conference and in the report do not explicitly name the President-elect, it is anticipated that the Commission will be keeping a close watch.
This blog post was written by a CCLA – PBSC RightsWatch student. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the view s of the CCLA or PBSC