the government of Jair Bolsonaro he remained silent in the face of a debate at the UN, aimed at evaluating ways to guarantee justice for victims of authoritarian regimes, such as what occurred in Brazil between 1964 and 1985.
The gesture comes on the eve of the president’s trip to the United Nations General Assembly next week.
On Thursday, a UN rapporteur presented his report before the Human Rights Council and concluded that amnesty laws perpetuate a “culture of impunity” and violate fundamental human rights. The assessment is part of a report prepared by the UN rapporteur for the promotion of truth, justice and reparation, Fabián Salvioli, who specifically cites the Brazilian case in the document as an example of a pact that hindered the search for an end to impunity.
The report, obtained by UOL, proposes the end of the amnesty laws and the recommendation to the states to investigate and punish all those who committed crimes, harshly a period of exception.
The Brazilian government had requested the floor to participate in the debate. But when called, the delegation indicated that it was withdrawing from the list of speakers. Moments earlier, the government of Argentina took the floor to support the debate and spoke on behalf of countries like Paraguay, Peru, Mexico. More than 30 governments intervened, many of them acknowledging past crimes.
Two days ago, it was the Brazilian government’s turn to reject admitting that the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances has the mandate to debate or even ask questions about the impact of the Amnesty law on crimes. The organization’s experts demanded responses from Brazil on the issue and warned that, while a person is missing, the crime continues.
But the delegation led by the Ministry of Family, Women and Human Rights and Itamaraty simply stated that they did not consider the issue to be within the mandate of the treaty, ratified by Brazil in 2016, and that, therefore, they would not even give answers on topics such as Peru and cases of missing persons.
Brazil’s participation in the debate also generated indignation from civil society entities, with regard to current cases of disappearances.
“Brazil’s passage through the review in the Committee on Forced Disappearance demonstrates how the government is detached from reality and presents the UN with a scenario that does not match the real situation,” said Gabriel Sampaio, coordinator of the program to Combat Institutional Violence at Conectas Direitos Humans.
“When confronted with the concern of the Committee members, the government adopts an arrogant tone that shows its lack of preparation and lack of policies to deal with issues of forced disappearance in the country. The consequence of this is felt, once again, by the population more vulnerable to institutional violence, young people, blacks and peripherals, like the victims of the crimes in May, among other cases,” added Sampaio.
Established in the government of João Figueiredo, in 1979, the amnesty law in Brazil was considered a milestone for the democratic transition. Convicted in two instances by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for crimes committed during the military regime (1964-1985), the Brazilian state continues to apply the 1979 law.
In 2010, the Supreme Court chose not to review the law, indicating that it had been a “historic agreement” to leave the military regime. The National Truth Commission, in 2014, recommended the end of the benefit for state agents who practiced torture or murder.
Under Jair Bolsonaro’s government, Brazil was the target of questioning by UN rapporteurs about its apology behavior for torturers and an attempt to rewrite history. The president even received torturers and praised the actions of the generals who commanded the country during the years of lead.