In the past, a formal complaint to the UN Committee on Torture could only be made by established organizations or countries. but after 17 years of wait Brazil is changing this.
Monday, June 19, in a speech before the new UN Human Rights Council, Brazilian Foreign Minister, Celso Amorim, announced that Brazil will present the so-called optional declaration, as per Article 22 of the Convention Against Torture, on June 26, International Day for Support of Torture Victims.
In practical terms, that means that as of now any Brazilian citizen can register a formal complaint of torture at the UN. Brazil ratified the convention in 1989, but only now is presenting the optional declaration after it was approved by Congress this year.
The Brazilian Special Secretariat for Human Rights (SEDH) reports that in 2001 the country extended a permanent invitation to the UN’s former Human Rights Commission allowing them to visit Brazil at any time.
Since then, Brazil is one of the countries that has received the most visits by special UN Human Rights Commission rapporteurs. The SEDH says that shows that Brazil is open and transparent on the question of human rights.
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