Summary of Our Interventions Concerning Brazil

March 20 - April 28, 2000
Palais des Nations, Geneva

In our interventions, we stated that the effective functioning of human rights mechanisms requires the cooperation and assistance of all those involved in the process. Unfortunately, many governments act as though the protection of human rights end with the ratification of relevant treaties. Many countries neglect the continuing obligations that these treaties impose on States. Brazil is an example in this regard with its non-recognition of conventional oversight mechanisms, failure to comply fully with special mechanisms and inconsistent compliance with conventional bodies. We urged the government of Brazil to comply fully with the obligations assumed under international human rights treaties, so as to enable human rights mechanisms to function appropriately.

We also closely worked with representatives of the Brazilian NGO community to present a recently written Civil Society's Report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural (ESC) Rights. In 1992, Brazil ratified the Covenant on ESC Rights but it submitted neither its initial report in 1997 nor the second periodical report in 1999. This past year, more than 2,000 Brazilian NGOs throughout 17 states (out of 26 states) worked for 8 months to produce a civil society report that was presented to members of the UN Committee on ESC Rights on 27 April in Geneva. The strategy for the visit and presentation was worked out earlier this year when representatives of FIAN met with the Geneva staff and during John Quigley's visit with the coordination team of the NGO consortium in Brasilia in March 2000. The visit of the 5 Brazilians (a member of Congress, a delegate of the Attorney General, Fr. Rodrigo de Castro Péret OFM and two coordinators of the NGO network) took the ESC Committee members and the Brazilian diplomatic mission by surprise. Members of the Committee were impressed by the thoroughness of the report and promised to treat it seriously. The Brazilian government reiterated its engagement to submit its official report by the beginning of 2001 at the latest. FI/OP also facilitated a meeting with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson, to brief her on the Civil Society Report before her visit to Brazil on 15 May.

Summary links for the Commission 2000: Colombia, Iraqi, Philippines, Pakistan, Mexico, women, migrant workers, human rights defenders
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UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-sixth session
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UN Commission on Human Rights: Fifty-sixth session