WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

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7 Oct 2022 | Commentary

The International Mission of Human Rights Specialists’ Final Statement on Brazil’s 2022 Elections

The members of the International Mission of Human Rights Specialists greet and congratulate Brazilian citizens and public institutions for the electoral process that took place last Sunday, October 2, 2022. The Mission was in São Paulo and Brasilia, from September 28 to October 3, 2022, to follow the electoral process in the country. The main focus of the mission was to monitor human rights, in line with international standards.

The International Mission was composed of the following human rights experts: Remo Carlotto (Executive Director of the MERCOSUR Institute for Public Policy on Human Rights – IPPDH), Dolores Gandulfo (Director of the Electoral Observatory of the Permanent Conference of Political Parties of Latin America and the Caribbean – COPPPAL), James Green (Professor of Brazilian History and Culture at Brown University, USA), Carolina Jiménez Sandoval (President of the Washington Office on Latin America – WOLA), and Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli (Brazil Officer at the Washington Office on Latin America – WOLA). Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Minister of Justice of Germany, collaborated with the group remotely.

The objectives of the Mission were: (a) for international and national actors to share experiences on the specific human rights monitoring during electoral periods; (b) to establish diagnostics and share scenario assessments of the Brazilian electoral process; (c) to train national observers and civil society representatives to deal with possible cases of political violence and other human rights violations during elections in Brazil; (d) to monitor, receive information and, if necessary, generate international visibility of possible serious human rights violations occurring in the electoral context.

In dialogue with civil society organizations, media representatives and public authorities, the experts received information that, during the electoral period, politically motivated acts of threats, physical aggression and assassinations took place.

The experts urge authorities that in the coming days they act with agility and firmness in the investigation, prosecution and accountability of cases of political violence that occurred in recent weeks and on the day of the election. This would send the public message that Brazilian institutions will not tolerate human rights violations in the electoral context and provide some reassurance that such incidents will not be repeated during the second round of the general elections.

Brazil has experienced a rise in political violence, racist and discriminatory statements, as well as hate speeches, including by public authorities, since the 2018 election. Experts urge the authorities and society at large to remain alert to the possible increase of fake news, hate speeches and attacks on democracy and the electoral process in the coming weeks.

Experts note with concern the high abstention rate in the first round of the elections. Voter non-attendance may be associated with the context of an increase in political violence, which draws attention and requires institutional measures during the coming period, in order to generate a safe environment for the full exercise of freedom of expression, political rights and democratic participation.

The experts will continue to gather information related to political violence, hate speech and other human rights violations that may occur in the course of the electoral process that will culminate on October 30.

The experts thank the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the Regional Electoral Court of São Paulo (TRE-SP) for the invitation to participate in their respective international guest programs, in which they were able to deepen their knowledge of the Brazilian electoral process, dialogue with the authorities in charge of organizing the elections and visit polling stations. They congratulate these institutions for the organization of the elections and recognize the proper functioning and legitimacy of the electronic ballot system.

The experts salute the National Association of Public Defenders (ANADEP) and congratulate the work of the national observers accredited by the Superior Electoral Court.

The International Mission of Human Rights Specialists is grateful for the information provided, recognizes and values the importance of the work of the Brazilian civil society, offering special thanks to the following networks, coalitions and organizations: Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders (CBDDDH), Network for the Protection of Journalists, Vladimir Herzog Institute, Washington Brazil Office, Terra de Direitos, Article 19, Landless Workers Movement (MST), Global Justice, Common Action Forum and the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC).

The International Mission of Human Rights Specialists stresses the importance of ensuring that everyone has the right to vote and that no one in Brazil should be afraid to exercise that right. It is important to encourage voter participation, ensure that the process is democratic and that all political forces recognize the results of the elections. Holding free, transparent and orderly elections sends an international message that Brazil is an example of democracy to the rest of the world. Experts consider that voting and electoral processes are fundamental forms of exercising the political rights of citizens all over the world. The guarantee of these human rights is a necessary condition for the full validity of the Democratic Rule of Law.