Members in Brazil repudiate human rights regression under far-right government

Publish Date: 
Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Since the early days of the Bolsonaro presidency, ESCR-Net members have repeatedly repudiated human rights harms posed by the far-right government in Brazil. Recently correcting Bolsonaro’s baseless claims about “false human rights” at the recent Davos World Economic Forum, and warning of the undermining of land reform efforts, Brazilian members—including Conectas; Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE); Instituto de Estudos, Formação e Assessoria em Políticas Públicas (Instituto Pólis); Justiça Global; Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens (MAB); Plataforma DHESCA Brasil; and Terra de Direitos—have condemned many of the first acts of his administration.

In the aftermath of Bolsonaro’s election in 2018, numerous ESCR-Net members reaffirmed Brazil’s human rights obligations in light of his looming presidency. Among other alarming rhetoric during his campaign, Bolsonaro had vowed to “put an end to all activism in Brazil.

On the right to food

Earlier this month, FASE called out the Bolsonaro administration for moving to end the National Council on Food and Nutritional Security (CONSEA), a body that played an important role in reducing hunger, particularly among those most impoverished. Instituto Pólis highlighted a concerning statement on the same issue by the Brazilian Forum on Food and Nutritional Sovereignty and Security.

On the right to land

Members have also responded to various threats to land rights in Brazil. On January 11, Plataforma DHESCA drew attention to the government’s order to halt all official land reform efforts for an indefinite period. On its site, MAB posted an article concerning the prior ties of the incoming president of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the extractivist industry. More recently, Terra de Direitos condemned the government granting the Ministry of Agriculture authority over land matters pertaining to Afro-descendent quilombola communities.

On the right to life

As part of the Rede de Justiça Criminal, Justiça Global and Conectas also denounced the government’s loosening of restrictions on the public’s ability to possess firearms, noting the potentially grave consequences for the problem of violence in Brazil.

On the indivisibility of all human rights

Last week, Bolsonaro used his first international meeting to defend what he claimed were"family principles and true human rights.” He singled out his commitment to “protect the right to life and private property.” Conectas issued a response to Bolsonaro’s claim that certain human rights are “false,” fact-checking him and defending the interdependence and indivisibility of all human rights.

"There are no false or true human rights…are all interdependent and indivisible among themselves."- Caio Borges, coordinator of Development and Socio-Environmental Rights at Conectas.