Brazil Very Active at First Meeting of UN’s Human Rights Council

Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, is participating today, June 19, in the first meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The organ, which was created on March 15, 2006, to substitute the Human Rights Commission, is composed of representatives from 47 countries. Each representative is elected for a two-year term.

The daylong meeting is taking place in the Palace of Nations. During the day the Brazilian chancellor will meet with the foreign ministers of France, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and India, Anand Sharma. He will also deliver a speech at the meeting of the Council. At night he will attend a dinner with the director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Pascal Lamy.

According to Amnesty International, Brazilians, especially Indians and other socially excluded segments of the population, continue to suffer a high rate of human rights violations. This finding appeared in Amnesty International’s Report 2006, released last month.

Amnesty said that, while the Brazilian federal government offered many proposals, few state governments kept their promises to reform public safety systems.

The document informed that human rights violations committed by the Brazilian police, including executions without court authorization, torture, and excessive use of force, persisted all over the country.

"Torture and mistreatment were generalized in the prison system, where conditions are cruel, inhuman, and degrading," the document affirms.

Amnesty also observed that Indians are victims of attacks and assassinations, as well as being forced to abandon their homelands. According to the international human rights organization, the federal government failed to fulfill its goal of demarcating all the Indian territories.

Another critical situation mentioned in the report was the case of human rights defenders and activists who fought for agrarian reform. According to the document, they were victims of threats, attacks, and, in some cases, assassinations. According to the report, the authors of human rights violations went unpunished in consequence of judicial slowness.

Amnesty pointed out that 2005 was marked by a political crisis sparked by the revelation of a corruption scheme involving members of the Administration and the National Congress.

The organization emphasized that significant efforts were made to disarm the population, and a law promulgated in 2003 to control the bearing of weapons apparently contributed to a decrease in the number of homicides in the country.

ABr

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