Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to Address Brazil’s Truth Commission
On Friday, March 20, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold a hearing on the December 2014 report of Brazil’s National Truth Commission (Comissão Nacional da Verdade, CNV).
The hearing was requested by Conectas Direitos Humanos (Brazil), Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA – Regional, based in the US), Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS – Argentina) and Comissão Justiça e Paz de São Paulo (Brazil). First launched in 2012, the Truth Commission was charged with investigating human rights violations committed by the state from 1946 to 1988, a period which coincided with country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship.
At the top of the CNV recommendations in its report is the request for criminal, civil and administrative accountability for public officials involved in human rights violations that occurred in the period investigated by the CNV, preventing these officials from invoking the Amnesty Law.
“Substantial advances in the fight against impunity in Brazil for the human rights violations of the past are necessary to consolidate a regional trend that can project its impact to the whole world. The report of the CNV is an opportunity to make a step forward in this regard.” said Gaston Chillier, Executive Director of CELS
Overall, the 29 recommendations made by the CNV are an attempt to pave the way for institutional changes that can strengthen respect for human rights. The recommendations include the creation of create state-level mechanisms to prevent and combat torture and to pass the bill (554/2011) that establishes detention hearings – which would guarantee that suspected offenders are seen by a judge shortly after their arrest, preventing torture and reducing unnecessary imprisonment.
“Despite all the barriers imposed on the CNV, starting with the lack of cooperation by the Armed Forces, we need to recognize the historical, political and symbolic value of this report, particularly since it sheds light on the challenges that our democracy inherited from the dictatorship – namely, the persistence of torture and police violence,” said Rafael Custódio, coordinator of the Justice program at Conectas.
“The final report of Brazil’s Truth Commission made a major contribution, which amounted to an important and authoritative account of the human rights abuses that took place during the years of Brazil’s military dictatorship,” said WOLA Program Director Geoff Thale. “We hope and expect that Brazilian authorities will follow the Truth Commission’s recommendation and pave the way for human rights cases from the dictatorship era to move forward in the Judiciary.”
Organizations will request the IACHR to monitor the 29 recommendations, specially the establishment of a permanent body by the Federal Government to follow up implementation and substantial advances in the determination of the legal responsibility of the public officials involved in the human rights violations investigated by the CNV.
The hearing is scheduled for 10:15 EST at the Ruben Dario room at the OAS and will be available to watch via livestream here.
For press inquiries, please contact:
Human Rights Program Director
Conectas Direitos Humanos
Cell: 55 11 98352 5778
Executive Director, CELS
(+1 916 805 1282)
Justice Program Coordinator
Conectas Direitos Humanos
Cell: 55 11 98919 2295