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Brazil: Guaranteeing human rights must be a priority during transition period

Brazil’s presidential election ended on the night of Sunday, 30 October. According to the official information published by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), the candidate Luiz Inácio da Silva was elected with 50.90% of the votes, against 49.10% for re-election of the candidate Jair Messias Bolsonaro. Blank and invalid votes represented 4.59% of the total.

Amnesty International warns that human rights must be a priority in the government transition period.  

The election was marked by threats to the civil rights of the Brazilian people. There were serious complaints that the Federal Highway Police did not comply with TSE decisions and carried out at least 560 inspection operations against vehicles carrying out public transportation of voters on Sunday.

In addition to impediments to the free transit of citizens, the elections were marked by the dissemination of false news, statements by President Jair Bolsonaro and the actions of other public authorities that generated fears over the integrity of state institutions and respect for the outcome of the elections. Episodes of political violence were recurrent.

People denounced electoral harassment in their workplaces, members of religious communities denounced situations of coercion for demonstrating in defence of human rights, candidates and ordinary citizens suffered physical aggression or were killed for exercising their right to freedom of expression. Journalists were also assaulted and intimidated, and indigenous communities were deprived of their right to political participation.

This scenario points to challenges that go beyond the electoral period and pose risks to the human rights of citizens in Brazil. Amnesty International monitored and denounced episodes of intimidation and political violence throughout the country during the electoral period and will continue to monitor the transition process of the federal government. This process must take place in accordance with the Federal Constitution, rule of law institutions and international human rights standards.

During this period, two documents were published that reveal the political violence to which the Brazilian population was subjected. On the eve of the first round of the 2022 elections, Amnesty International presented the document “Political violence: human rights violations in the 2022 electoral period.” The organization collected 42 human rights violations that occurred in the 90 days leading up to the first day of voting.

In the campaign period preceding the second round of the elections, Amnesty International identified two cases of political violence per day. The cases are collected in the document “Intimidation as a method: violence and threats against male and female voters in 2022“.