Brazil: Bolsonaro’s dangerous rhetoric at UN General Assembly is a blow to human rights and the struggle for climate justice

Reacting to President Jair Bolsonaro’s speech this morning at the 74th United Nations General Assembly, Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, commented on the following issues:

On the Amazon and the protection of indigenous peoples

“The devastating number and scale of fires in the Amazon this year confirmed the harsh reality faced by Indigenous peoples and other inhabitants of the rainforest. President Bolsonaro failed to make clear how exactly Brazil will protect them.”

The devastating number and scale of fires in the Amazon this year confirmed the harsh reality faced by Indigenous peoples and other inhabitants of the rainforest. President Bolsonaro failed to make clear how exactly Brazil will protect them
Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil

“We will continue calling on the authorities to fulfill their constitutional and international human rights law obligations to demarcate and protect indigenous lands. We also reiterate our call to strengthen the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) as the main institutions supporting indigenous peoples and actions to protect the environment.”

“We stand beside Cacique Raoni, a defender of Indigenous peoples’ rights and the Amazon, in his struggle for his people and their land. Bolsonaro's empty rhetoric trying to delegitimize his struggle and that of all Indigenous peoples is incredibly dangerous and divisive.” 

On public security

The death of Ágatha Felix, an eight-year-old child killed in a favela in Rio de Janeiro last weekend, is evidence of the lethal nature of the public security policy that the country has adopted. In Rio de Janeiro alone, state security forces have killed 1,249 people in 2019, the highest amount since records began, in 1998.

“We reaffirm our calls for a public security policy that is truly committed to reducing homicides while taking every effort to protect all lives. The state must also stop punishing drug users and allowing greater access to guns that have left a trail of victims, including police officers but mostly black people living in the favelas.”

On freedom of expression and the role of human rights organizations

“We are concerned by President Bolsonaro’s statement about confronting the media and the work of the national and international press, which are fundamental to the right to freedom of expression, due to their role in denouncing human rights violations and addressing other political, environmental, social and economic problems.”

Without freedom of expression, the promotion and protection of human rights would be in grave danger. The government must also respect the right of civil society to monitor, demand accountability and take action to promote and protect the rights of all people
Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil

“Without freedom of expression, the promotion and protection of human rights would be in grave danger. The government must also respect the right of civil society to monitor, demand accountability and take action to promote and protect the rights of all people.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Vanessa Franquilino: vanessa.franquilino@anistia.org.br