The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), of the Organization of American States (OAS), urged Brazil to use its best efforts to prevent and combat any act of intolerance that could result in political violence during elections.
In a statement released this Thursday (29) the organization highlighted the role played by political leaders in “preventing intolerance and violence” and in promoting understanding “from the recognition of pluralism and diversity”.
According to a survey carried out by UniRio’s Observatory of Political and Electoral Violence until June this year, cases of violence against Brazilian political leaders grew 335% in Brazil in the last three years.
In the final stretch of the electoral campaign, reports of politically and electorally motivated attacks and murders against citizens also skyrocketed, with cases being investigated in Ceará, Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina only last weekend.
In light of this scenario, the IACHR asked “the State to do its utmost to prevent and combat any act of intolerance that could result in political violence.”
“The IACHR reaffirms Brazil’s solid democratic institutionality, the separation and independence of its powers, and the proper functioning of its system of checks and balances. In addition to appreciating the efforts of the institutions, it appeals to the State, in accordance with the inter-American norms of human rights, which implements the necessary actions to prevent and sanction acts or public manifestations, in the context of elections, that constitute intolerance or contempt for the other for being or thinking differently”, says the organization.
In the note, the commission also reinforced the need for the Brazilian State and society to respect the results of the elections: “the Inter-American Commission urges the State and society in general to hold peaceful elections and to respect their results as the highest expression of sovereignty popular, this in strict adherence to representative democracy and human rights, as established by the Inter-American Democratic Charter, an instrument to which Brazil is a party”, says the note.
“In addition, it is essential that judicial authorities understand their role as guarantors of the circulation of information of public interest that provide tools to the population on the aspects that make up electoral participation. Blocking or limiting access to online content or restrictions on circulation of journalistic notes can limit access to voters’ information and, therefore, their wide knowledge for participation and decision during the electoral process”, also states the statement released by the IACHR.
The text also states that the Judiciary must protect the exercise of political discourse and the propagation of matters of public interest, “which also implies the reinforced protection of the right of access to information”.
country under observation
This is not the first time that the IACHR has expressed concern about political and electoral violence in Brazil. At the end of July, the main and autonomous body of the OAS issued another note, in which it said it observed “with concern the acts of violence motivated by the current political context”.
On that occasion, the commission urged the State “to prevent violence, guaranteeing protection and security measures in the electoral context, as well as carrying out investigations relevant to these facts”.
Despite the reinforcement regarding the need to prevent such acts, in the statement released this Thursday, the IACHR welcomed “the special measures adopted by Brazilian state institutions to hold free and fair elections on October 2nd.”
Among the various measures adopted, praised by the inter-American body, are the agreement signed between the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the Electoral General Prosecutor’s Office to combat gender-based political violence; the installation of an intelligence center, by the TSE, with the objective of combating political violence in the electoral process; as well as the creation of specific criminal courts to analyze cases of political-party violence, by the National Council of Justice
Rising violence and fear
The survey by the UniRio Political and Electoral Violence Observatory identified 214 records of political violence against political leaders in Brazil in the first half of 2022, while the country had 47 cases in the same period of 2019, the year in which the study began.
Another survey, carried out by the Political Action Network for Sustainability (RAPS) and the Brazilian Public Security Forum, also showed an increase in the population’s level of concern regarding the issue.
Among those interviewed in 2022, 67.5% say they are afraid of being physically attacked because of their political or partisan choice.
In a victimization survey, 3.2% say they have been victims of threats, for political reasons, in the last month before the survey was released, which was published on September 7.
If the research sample is extrapolated, about 5.3 million people will be victims of threats for their political positions in the 30 days prior to the research field.
This text was originally published here
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