BRASILIA – Amnesty International released a letter on Tuesday criticizing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s “anti-human-rights rhetoric” and urging him to change his tone.
The letter was made public in Brasilia, where AI Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said in a press conference that the human rights group was “very worried” about the situation in Brazil, which has been governed since Jan. 1 by the far-right president.
“It’s an extremely delicate time for the Americas, where many governments, instead of protecting the human rights of their populations, promote measures and policies that are very harmful to people,” Guevara-Rosas said.
The AI official cited as examples what was happening in Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the governments were “promoting violence against their opponents,” as well as the situation in Brazil, which has a different context but similar tendencies because of Bolsonaro’s positions and statements.
AI said it was launching the “Brazil for Everyone” campaign because “the anti-human-rights rhetoric that has marked the president’s entire political career, including his 2018 election campaign, is beginning to be translated into concrete measures and actions that threaten and violate the human rights of all people in Brazil.”
“This rhetoric takes away from the legitimacy of the Brazilian government to condemn the human rights violations that occur in other places in the world,” Guevara Rosas said.
AI Brazil executive director Jurema Werneck, for her part, said that both the new administration’s rhetoric and some of its policies “posed a real risk” to “persons and groups that have a complete right to live without fear.”
AI cited a number of policies implemented by the Bolsonaro administration as concerns, including “the relaxation of laws on possessing and carrying firearms, which could increase the number of homicides in Brazil.”
Werneck said that in countries with high crimes rates like Brazil, where nearly 60,000 people are murdered each year, “legalizing arms is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.”
AI also criticized Brazil’s “new national drug policy, which takes a more punitive approach and infringes upon the right to health.”
“Recently, we have seen political leaders in many countries campaigning with an overtly anti-human-rights agenda and rhetoric. In Brazil, this rhetoric is beginning to be turned into concrete actions,” AI said.