June 7, 2013
Mac Margolis – Newsweek, 06/07/2013
Back in 2002, when he was head of Civil Police in Rio de Janeiro, Zaqueu Teixeira caused a minor social earthquake. A group of streetwalkers had been complaining of being roughed up in the streets, and Teixeira decided to investigate. “I brought them into the station to hear their story,” he says. “The entire police command was in shock.” Not only were the victims prostitutes, they were also transvestites—second-class citizens to many Brazilians. Not least to Rio’s cops.
What a difference a decade makes. This week, a group of 50 of Rio’s finest filed into an auditorium in the art deco building that houses the state secretariat of public security for a morning of lectures, debate, and culture shock. This was the latest round of a special training seminar designed to instruct career officers on how to serve and protect a burgeoning Brazilian demographic: the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
Rio’s top brass was there, as were public safety secretary José Mariano Beltrame and a handful of other Rio grandees. “Everybody behaved. No one offended anyone else or made ugly faces,” says Jane di Castro, a transvestite singer, who performed the national anthem, danced in the aisles and joked with police at the gathering. “Imagine police taking up our cause! I was very pleasantly surprised,” confesses the 67-year-old stage artist, who was born Luiz de Castro.
June 7, 2013
Renan Ramalho – O Globo, 06/07/2013
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry announced the election of former minister Paulo Vannuchi for a position at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States (OAS) this thursday (06/06). Paulo Vanucchi was elected in Guatemala, during an OAS assembly. With headquarters in Washington DC, this branch of the OAS is responsible for assessing claims and formal complaints pertinent to human rights violations in member countries.
Vannuchi was Minister of the Department of Human Rights from 2005 to 2010, during Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidency, and currently serves as the one of the directors at Lula’s institute.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is composed of seven members of the OAS countries. Vannuchi competed for another three positions that will open at the end of the year, running against representatives from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. José Jesús Orozco Henríquez from Mexico and James Cavallaro from the U.S. were also elected.
June 3, 2013
The Telegraph, 06/03/2013
More than three million people have taken part in the world’s largest gay pride parade in Brazil.
The sixteenth annual march in Sao Paulo saw gay, lesbian, bisexual and transvestite activists parade through the city to call for an end to homophobic violence in a carnival of colour and festive music.
Last year, in a landmark case for the Catholic dominated country, Brazil’s Supreme Court legally recognised homosexual partnerships.
November 30, 2012
Human Rights Watch, 11/29/2012
A resolution by Brazil’s Human Rights Defense Council outlines crucial steps needed to reduce unlawful killings by police, Human Rights Watch said today. The resolution calls on law enforcement officials at the state level to ensure that all killings by their police forces are properly investigated.
The council, led by Human Rights Minister Maria do Rosário, issued the resolution on November 28, 2012, following a public consultation with government officials, public security experts, and civil society representatives.
“Police officers in many parts of Brazil face real difficulties and dangers when confronting violent crime, and many of them have lost their lives in the line of duty,” said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Unfortunately, their legitimate efforts to enforce the law have often been undermined by other officers who themselves engage in unlawful violence, executing people and falsely claiming their victims died in shootouts.”
August 17, 2012
A regional judge called for an immediate halt to construction on Tuesday after years of high-profile criticism. The likes of Hollywood director James Cameron and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights have said Belo Monte would displace indigenous people in the Amazon rain forest.
President Dilma Rousseff, however, has said such mega dams are needed to meet the energy demands of Brazil’s growing consumer class — the result of intense poverty alleviation in Latin America’s largest economy.
“This situation must be resolved very quickly in order to take advantage of a hydrological window,” President of Norte Energia (Northern Energy) Duilio Figueiredo told Reuters, referring the seasonal rains in the region.
March 14, 2012
Human Rights Watch, 03/13/2012
The decision by federal prosecutors to bring charges against a retired military officer for grave abuses committed in the 1970’s is a landmark step for accountability in Brazil, Human Rights Watch said today.
Federal prosecutors announced on March 13, 2012, thatthey are charging Col. Sebastião Curió Rodrigues de Moura with “aggravated kidnapping” for his alleged role in five enforced disappearancesin Pará state in 1974. The charges will be formally submitted this week to a federal judge, who will determine whether the case will go to trial.
The case is the first in which criminal charges arebrought against a Brazilian official for the human rights crimes committed during the country’s military dictatorship, from 1964 to 1985. More than475 people were forcibly disappeared during that era, and thousands more were illegally detained or tortured.
December 19, 2011
Washington Office on Latin America, 12/19/2011
Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute spoke at the event on December 14, 2011.
Click here to watch the video of his presentation
One year ago, on December 14, 2010, the Inter-American Court for Human Rights issued its landmark ruling in the case “Gomes Lund and Others (Guerrilha do Araguaia) v. Brazil.” Among its key findings, the court ruled that by denying families of the victims access to military and other State archives, Brazil had violated their fundamental right to information as defined by the Inter-American Human Rights Convention. The court also issued extraordinary guidelines to Brazil regarding the obligations of the State to search for, locate, and make public government records related to gross human rights abuses.
The Araguaia ruling has broad implications for the development of the right to truth and human rights justice throughout the Americas. To date, Latin American governments have generally refused to open secret archives that may contain evidence of human rights violations. But political and legal pressure in favor of the right to truth and the right to information is mounting. One month ago, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff responded to those pressures by signing into law the creation of a truth commission and a new freedom of information law that calls for release of human rights related documentation.
Join us as a panel of experts discusses these pivotal and important developments for the advance of human rights and transparency in the Americas. The panel will be moderated by WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale.
May 16, 2011
Fabiola Ortiz – AlJazeera, 05/15/2011
Jane de Meneses Coelho, whose son Julio Cesar died in a police operation, cries as Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty watches during a meeting for victims of police violence at Cidade Alta slim in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Reuters
Despite “considerable progress” made in reducing poverty, “stark inequalities” remain in Brazil, as well as high levels of police and gang violence in poor urban neighbourhoods, Amnesty International warns in its annual human rights report, released as it reaches its 50th anniversary.
The “Annual Report 2011: The state of the world’s human rights” documents specific restrictions on free speech in at least 89 countries, cases of torture and other ill-treatment in almost 100 countries, and unfair trials in at least 54 countries.
In the chapter on Brazil, the London-based global rights watchdog says the country’s “favelas” or shanty towns continue to face “a range of human rights abuses, including forced eviction and lack of access to basic services.”