EU-Brazil Summit – People must be at the heart of discussions
(Brussels, 5 October) Urban and rural violence and the persecution of human rights defenders in Brazil should be raised by the EU at the forthcoming EU-Brazil Summit, says Amnesty International.
“Although the Brazilian government has taken a number of steps to reduce violations occurring in the country, the overall extent of human rights violations in Brazil remains alarmingly high” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.
In a letter to the Swedish Presidency of the EU (available here) Amnesty International urged the EU to raise the on-going persecution of those fighting for human rights, in compliance with the EU’s guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.
In Rio de Janeiro, for example, a group of individuals (including judges, prosecutors, police officers and one state deputy) is in serious danger because of their work in denouncing police officers involved in criminal militias who control vast parts of the city. (For more information, click this link)
In rural areas, violence against landless workers also continues, often carried out by illegal militias or unregulated private security companies hired by landowners. Indigenous peoples fighting for access to ancestral lands, in particular, continue to suffer intimidation and violence.
Just last week, for example, armed men attacked the Guarani Kaiowa Apyka´y community in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. They fired indiscriminately and set fire to the encampment, while physically and verbally threatening the group who has been living by the side of a highway since they were evicted from their ancestral lands in April 2009.
As Brazil’s importance in the world stage grows, so do its responsibilities. In this respect, although Amnesty International has praised Brazil’s role at the UN’s Human Rights Council in regard to Sudan, it was shocked by Brazil’s defence of the principle of non-interference where Sri Lanka was concerned and it will be watching Brazil’s stance in regard to the upcoming evaluation of North Korea.
“The EU and Brazil should take this opportunity to build their relationship in a way that enables them to work together towards the global defence of human rights” said Nicolas Beger.
“When the EU and Brazil discuss the ways to tackle the current global challenges, such as the economic crisis and climate change, the poorest and most vulnerable communities should not be absent from the discussions as they are the ones who are ultimately most affected by such crisis” he added.
Amnesty International also wrote to the Brazilian government urging it to raise the human rights violations taking place in Europe in regard to migrants and asylum seekers, for example (click here for English version, here for Portuguese version). The organization also called on Brazil to denounce the discrimination against Roma and LGBT* communities in several European countries and the cases of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials.
*Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Email: [email protected]