Sexuality Policy Watch

Civil society criticizes gap of government human rights report to UN

Text by Pedro Calvi, originally published at Comissão de Direitos Humanos, Minorias e Igualdade Racial, Câmara dos Deputados.

In September, Brazil is due to submit to the UN Human Rights Council the Preliminary Report on the Part-Time Period III Cycle, regarding the evaluation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The document will be delivered to Geneva, Switzerland. Every four years, all 193 countries that are members of the United Nations (UN) undergo an international assessment of the human rights situation. In the last review cycle, in 2017, Brazil received 246 recommendations. Among them, 242 were accepted by the country and indicate problems caused by police violence, the need for reforms in the penal system, policies that expand racial and gender equality, access to quality public services and initiatives to reduce poverty rates.

Brazil has already gone through three Universal Periodic Review evaluation cycles in 2008, 2012 and 2017. On Wednesday (28), the House of Representatives (CDHM) Human Rights and Minorities Commission held a public hearing to discuss how the report is being made as well as the participation of civil society in its preparation.

The part-time report is under consultation for one week at But civil society criticizes the inadequacy of the method.

Fernanda Lapa, representative of the UPR Collective, a group of institutions created to specifically monitor the review, said the collective was made available by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, but points out: “We have never been called, we have not had a participatory dialogue and we found a 213-page document that does not show the current and concrete confrontation of the recommendations. In addition, it speaks of policies and activities of 2002, 2007 or 2018 and, worse, that they no longer exist. Why, and to whom send a report like this. ” Lapa is also part of the Institute for Development and Human Rights (IDDH).


“This report has a farcical tone,” says Deborah Duprat, Federal Prosecutor for Citizen’s Rights. She reports that in 2018, PFDC held a hearing to set up mechanisms to monitor SPS recommendations in a participatory manner. “But they have created a completely wrong consultation format and I am unaware of any initiative to invite civil society to participate. The mechanisms of social participation have been dehydrated since the beginning of the current government. ” The prosecutor adds that among the recommendations are actions to combat hunger and misery, combat all types of discrimination, gender issues and public policies for indigenous populations, for example. “Nothing has been done, advice has been deactivated … indigenous issues are nothing to do and more and more young black and poor are murdered.”

In the same tone follows Kleber Karipuna, from the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Articulation (Apib). Of the 242 recommendations, 32 are about indigenous peoples. “None have been complied with or accepted as actions to prevent violence against indigenous peoples. The Brazilian State has not shown any effort, on the contrary, it spreads prejudice and stimulates violence and has already called indigenous lands a zoo ”. Karipuna also denounces that there was no indigenous participation in the report to the UN. “Recommendations on the right to territorial and cultural protection and economic activities that preserve the environment have not been upheld. On the contrary, they are opening indigenous territories for exploitation by miners and agribusiness ”.

The director of the Department of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, João Lucas de Almeida, disputes: “The administration is committed and is one of the first countries in the region to present a part-time report. Brazil is doing this for the first time.”

To Gustavo Huppes, from the Brazilian Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy and Conectas, Brazil is experiencing a major setback and changes in human rights policies in the foreign policy framework: “We have noticed a sudden change in Brazil’s participation and propositions in international relations, which should be purposeful and in favor of human rights, but it has been just the opposite, especially gender issues. ” Huppes warns that the country’s power of influence is increasingly weakened. “In three UPR cycles, more than 300 recommendations were received. As for migration, what is in the report does not reflect the actions of the state. A document detached from reality and away from international commitments.

For Helder Salomão (PT / ES), president of the CDHM, “the effective dialogue between the State and civil society  would contribute to democratically legitimize the preparation of this report.”

CNDH Intervention

On Tuesday (27), Minister Damares Alves dismissed the coordinator-general National Council of Human Rights (CNDH), Caroline Dias dos Reis. The Council is linked to the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights. In a note of repudiation, the CNDH points out that the act of dismissal “will enter the history of the Council as one of the greatest attacks it has suffered.” The document also highlights the serious situation faced by the institution, which, like the other councils, has been constantly threatened by the executive branch. The President of the Council, Leonardo Penafiel, sent a letter to the minister requesting that the document be revoked and immediately return the coordinator to the post.

At today’s hearing, Penafiel recalls that “the Constitution says that the government does not have a monopoly to dictate public policies, states that all areas must have control and social participation. Whoever thinks that having Councils is a matter of government A or B, doesn’t know the story. The government has stepped back and follows an intervention model. ” He points out that the report was not presented to the CNHM and that all recommendations have a general sense of advancement and progressivity of human rights: “The idea is to move forward and not backward. Unfortunately, the report is not part of this diagnosis. ”

Milton Toledo Junior, head of the Special Advisory Office for International Affairs at the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights, says that the dismissal of a position of self-employment can be done at any time and is the decision of the manager responsible for the agency. As for the SPS report, it reports that, among other measures, an internal working group has been set up to monitor and monitor UN recommendations.

Maria Oliveira, from the Human, Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights Platform (Dhesca Brazil) and the Geledés Institute of Black Women, is concerned “about the setbacks in the human rights agenda and the freezing of public spending on health. and education through Constitutional Amendment 95, which will have serious consequences, especially on the black and poor population. ” Dhesca also issued a note of repudiation denouncing the intervention of the federal government in the CNDH.

How is the assessment done?

The assessment of a state is based on three documents: the national report prepared by the country being examined; a compilation of UN information on the state prepared by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR), and a summary of information provided by other stakeholders, such as civil society organizations. Based on this material, representatives of UN member countries make recommendations for the evaluated country.

Post truth

MP Érika Kokay (PT/DF), who requested the meeting, says that “we are living the construction of a post-truth, enemies invented not to respond to the anguish of the Brazilian population. This government has no right to deceive the people and international bodies with this shame of presenting a report that does not correspond to the facts. It’s time to give up the myth and the compulsion for lies.”

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