What does the US government report say that criticizes the human rights situation in Bolsonaro’s administration

  • Mariana Schreiber – @marischreiber
  • BBC News Brasil in Brasilia

5 hours ago

Credit, Isac Nóbrega / PR

Photo caption, The document cites the attacks on press freedom carried out by President Jair Bolsonaro himself

The American government lists a series of criticisms of Brazil in its 2020 report on Human Rights released by the State Department on Tuesday (03/30).

In the part destined for the country, the document mentions the attacks on press freedom carried out by President Jair Bolsonaro himself, the alleged failures of his government in protecting indigenous people during the pandemic and also highlights the police violence that affects, in particular, black people. .

Regarding threats to the free work of journalists, the report points out that, only in the first half of 2020, Bolsonaro criticized the press personally or via social media 53 times.

In August of last year, the document cites, the president verbally assaulted a reporter from the newspaper O Globo – at the time, Bolsonaro said he wanted to “fill his mouth with a fist” by refusing to answer a question about deposits made by Fabrício Queiroz in the account of First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro.

The American government also points out that, during the pandemic, journalists have been the target of groups without masks who approach to verbally insult the professionals, including episodes in front of the Palácio da Alvorada, the president’s official residence, which has led large Brazilian vehicles to interrupt daily coverage on site.

“As of August, several major vehicles stopped sending journalists to cover events outside the Palace, and the Palace took additional steps to keep journalists separate from civilians gathered outside,” the report notes.

The document also says that some journalists have been subjected to physical assaults and even murders, especially in local coverage. One of the examples cited is the murder of the journalist and pre-candidate for councilor by Patriota Leonardo Pinheiro in May 2020 in Araruama (RJ) – he, who maintained the journalistic page “A Voz Araruamense”, was shot dead at the moment when conducted an interview.

Unprotected indigenous people in the pandemic

In the section dedicated to indigenous populations, the report highlights complaints from non-governmental organizations about the constant invasions of indigenous territories to carry out illegal economic activities and how this has left these people more vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the examples cited is the existence of 20,000 gold miners in the Yanomami Indigenous Land, located in the states of Amazônias and Roraima. Although successive court decisions since last July have already determined the removal of these invaders, to date this has not been achieved.

“Illegal land invasions have often resulted in violence and even death. According to the CIMI (Indigenous Missionary Council) report, there were 113 murders of indigenous people in 2019, compared to 135 cases in 2018,” says the American document .

Indigenous protest in Brasilia

Credit, Léo Otero / National Indigenous Mobilization

Photo caption,

The report highlights complaints from non-governmental organizations about the constant invasions of indigenous territories to carry out illegal economic activities

The US Department of State report also highlights the complaint of indigenous peoples about the slowness of demarcating their territories.

Although the recognition of lands occupied by traditional peoples is foreseen in the Constitution, Bolsonaro has already openly said on different occasions that no demarcation will be made in his government.

The report records that the federal government, in partnership with state governments, created five new hospital wards in the states of Pará, Amapá and Amazonas, exclusively for the treatment of indigenous patients. In addition, he reports that the Ministry of Health, Funai and the Ministry of Defense sent medical missions and more than 350 tons of health supplies to indigenous territories.

However, according to the document, “indigenous leaders made public statements emphasizing that very few of these resources were delivered to their communities and argued that the scarcity of resources resulting from the COVID-19 crisis remained a concern”.

“Many indigenous people expressed concern that the virus, with its greatest risk to older and vulnerable populations, could erase their cultural heritage, wiping out an entire generation of elderly people. The Munduruku people, with land in the states of Amazonas and Pará, reported the loss of seven elderly people between 60 and 86 years to COVID-19 “, the document further details.

Police abuse and violence

The American government’s report also points out several situations of abuse and police violence that are frequent in Brazil, such as illegal murders and arbitrary arrests.

The document even says that civil authorities do not maintain full control over security forces in the country.

Citing data from the Public Security Forum, the report points out that 5,804 civilians were killed by police in 2019, with 30% of homicides occurring in Rio de Janeiro, although the State represents only 8% of the national population.

“In the city of Rio de Janeiro, the majority of deaths occurred while the police conducted operations against drug gangs in more than a thousand favelas, where around 1.3 million people lived. NGOs in Rio de Janeiro questioned whether all the victims really they resisted arrest, as the police reported, and claimed that the police often used unnecessary force, “the document also says.

People passing in front of police officers

Credit, AFP

Photo caption,

The document says that civilian authorities do not maintain full control over security forces in the country

The report cites some examples of this illegal action by the police, such as the case of the death of João Pedro Matos Pinto, just 14 years old, murdered with several shots in the back, inside the house, by police officers during an operation in a community in São Gonçalo ( RJ).

The document also points out that police killings mainly affect black people – they are 75% of the victims, according to statistics from the Public Security Forum.

Regarding the security forces, the report also points out the involvement of police in militias and highlights the occurrence of torture against prisoners. It also cites the high proportion of people imprisoned without conviction in Brazil and the overcrowding of prisons. Another problem highlighted is the slowness of justice.

“Conditions in many prisons are poor and sometimes fatal, mainly due to overcrowding. Abuses by prison officers continued and poor working conditions and low salaries for prison officers encouraged corruption,” the report said.


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