The Brazilian civil society organizations attending the process of the Universal Periodic Revision of Brazil at the United Nations (UN) want to manifest their position about the procedure and its outcomes. This is the third UPR review to which Brazil is submitted. On September 21, during the 36th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in Geneva, the Brazilian State has accepted 242 recommendations from the 246 made by 103 countries, while took note of other 4.
Civil society organizations interpret the acceptance of these recommendations as a demonstration on the part of the Brazilian state that it recognizes necessity to advance on the promotion and protection of human rights in Brazil. However, we interrogate the question the solidity of the commitment expressed by the Brazilian government both at the UN and in front of the national society in regards to this implementation. Recommendations adopted on the two previous UPRs cycles have not been yet been put into effect. Among them, for example, is the recommendation on the demarcation of the Guarani and Kaiowá indigenous people land. Furthermore Brazilian society now faces a grave political crisis that has implied a democratic rupture and the sharp austerity measures that have been recently adopted, while affecting the whole population particularly affects the poorest and most vulnerable and it makes inviable for the announced commitments to be translated into action.
The organizations her signed contest the intervention made by Brazilian State at UNHCR because from our point of view it does not correspond to reality. The government is refusing to recognize the scenario of grave human rights violations in Brazil and the innumerous challenges this poses for the future. If in the view of the Brazilian mission at the UN in Geneva the setbacks underway in respect to labor rights, reduction of social investment and the fiscal adjustment do not compromise the fulfillment of human rights in Brazil, in the evaluation of organizations here signed these reforms and budget cuts will deepen inequalities and fuel human rights violations across the country.
The announcement made by the government predicts that by the year 2018 a “virtuous cycle of growth” will re-start. Even so it is hard to believe that the recommendations adopted at this UPR will be implemented because measures such as the 2016 Constitutional Amendment 98 that entails the reforms of Social Security Reform and re-structure the Federal Public Budget proposal for 2018 will drastically reduce public funding for critical areas. The 2018 budget being proposed by imply sharp cuts in the area of urban rights (housing, basic sanitation, urban mobility) that will see the investments reduced by 86 percent in in comparison to 2017; the social assistance sector will by cut by 98 percent; Science and technology by 27 percent; environmental protection by 18 percent; the promotion for racial equality has been cut by 74% less the protection of women’s rights by 34 percent. Even when faced with the possibility of seeing Brazil returning to the world Hunger Map, reductions are also being projected in then case of the Bolsa Família Cash Transfer and Food Acquisition Programs, by 11 and 85 percent respectively. The same applies to the Rainwater Harvesting Program for the semi-arid region that has been recently awarded by the UN. The violations of indigenous rights will also be aggravated given that Indigenous National Foundation (FUNAI will have it budget cut by 98 percent when compared to 2013.
Regarding the UPR pricess under consideration, between May and August, the Brazilian State organized an online Public Consultation and a Public Hearing at the Congress Committee on Human Rights and Minorities that counted with the presence of representatives of the Ministries of Human Rights and Foreign Affairs. It is, however, uncertain the extension to which the Brazilian government has taken into consideration the recommendations made and debates that emerged of these intercations. Unfortunately the Brazilian government did not made public the responses it provided to the UN. Access to this document (in English) was made possible exclusively through the UN site and this his greatly restricted the ability of the civil society to participate in the consultative process. The dialogue sponsored by the Brazilian state was limited and it should be noted that existing participatory councils were not involved. In Geneva, the mission has only fulfilled formal procedures.
In light of these circumstances, Brazilian civil society organizations committed to the 2017 UPR process have just one certainty to share: the only way possible for the government to engage effectively in the promotion and protection of human rights is by respecting the mechanisms of democratic participation. If that does not happen Brazil will continue to be an extremely unequal and violent country that discriminates and marginalizes wide segments of its society. It is not acceptable that the poorest pay for the costs of structural adjustment. We do not accept any regression in human rights. Not even one right less. All rights for everyone Land demarcation now. More rights, more democracy.
Geneva, September 22nd of 2017.
Sign the note the listed below:
Amnesty International Brazil
Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil (APIB)
Articulation for the Monitoring of Human Rights in Brazil
National Campaign for the Right to Education
Conectas Human Rights
Missionary Indigenous Council (CIMI)
The Great Assembly of the Guarani-Kaiowa People (Aty Guasu)
Institute Development and Human Rights (IDDH)
National Movement of Human Rights (MNDH)
National Observatory of AIDS Policy (ABIA)
Platform of Human Rights (DhESCA Brasil)
Network of Amazonian Cooperation (RCA)
International Network for the Right to Adequate Food (FIAN Brazil and FIAN International)
International Network of Human Rights (RIDH)