Brazil: a threat to democracy and human rights defenders

Brazil: a threat to democracy and human rights defenders

On 26 October, two days before the election of the far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro, the Emmaus Brazil Federation warned of the threat that the president elect embodies, highlighting his discourse of hatred and violence which constitutes a real threat to democracy in the country, as well as to human rights defenders.

The Emmaus Brazil Federation (FEB) brings together 12 grassroots organisations spread over seven of Brazil’s states. We are members of Emmaus International (a movement that fights poverty in 37 countries through 350 organisations) and we campaign for democracy, human rights, and social and environmental justice. We have a responsibility to publicly condemn candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the embodiment of a very dangerous proposal who stands for everything we fight against.

As part of Emmaus Brazil, we believe that the tools for social transformation are education and culture. We believe these are essential rights for everyone in order to exercise citizenship in all areas of expression.

It is therefore incumbent upon us to denounce this candidate who has defended torture, publicly supported Brazilian military dictators, and whose plan for the country is based on grotesque exploitation of workers, untamed neo-liberalism, hate speech and the promotion of a conservative model of family and nation. His statements, which have been excessively disseminated in the media, communicating nothing but prejudices to a large part of Brazilian society, have been damaging for people of African descent, indigenous communities, women, the LGBTQ+ population and social movements, as well as the environment and those who defend it, as well as any opposition.

Jair Bolsonaro’s ideas, which are rooted in violence, intolerance and fascism, have been widely broadcast in the national and international press, threatening political engagement in Brazil as well as the 1988 Constitution, one of the pillars of democracy in the country.

The Emmaus Brazil Federation stands in solidarity with those people, groups and institutions that fight for democracy in order to both raise the alarm and create a space for dialogue at this historic moment, thereby exercising our right to defend human rights in Brazil.

Fortaleza, Brazil, 26 October 2018

© Nicolas Chidem – Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0