Table of Contents
Human rights are necessary for protecting the rights of citizens of a country. They are entitled to all individuals regardless of language, ethnicity, language, religion or race. Human rights include the right to life, freedom from any slavery and torture, freedom of expression, right to work and right to education among others. However, some countries such as Brazil have continuously been violating some of these human rights. For example, the rampant police abuse and cycles of violence have violated the citizens freedom from violence and slavery. The counterterrorism bill passed in Brazil has also contributed a lot in suppressing the citizen’s freedom to association, opinion, and expression. This paper seeks to analyze the two current human issues plaguing Brazil, followed up by a determination as to whether it is undermining the UDHR. It will also offer a summary of the issue discussed and whether there are any solutions for the human rights problems facing Brazil.
Human rights current situation in Brazil
By the year 2016, rampant violence had plagued many of the Brazilian cities with police abuses being on the increase. With the city being attacked by various criminal gangs, the police in a bid to solve the crime problem have often used excessive force and abuse which in some cases has ended up affecting innocent Brazilians. Other individuals in the police force have taken advantage of the situation to apply excessive force to some citizens. Such acts are a contradiction of the human right to freedom from torture according to Hoy (p 5). Abuses by the police force range from extrajudicial killings which result in criminal gangs retaliating with violence against the police force. Such actions by the police have not only put the citizens at risk but have also endangered the lives of most police officers. For example, in 2015, an approximate of 393 police officers were killed in Brazilian cities according to statistics.
The increased illegal killing of gang members, members, are less likely to make gangs surrender but instead stir up more violence as gang membered in most cases are likely to feel that they are cornered by the police. According to Maria Laura, the Brazilian director of human rights, she states that “turning a blind eye to the police abuse not only denies justice to victims but also antagonizes communities and puts the police force at risk” (watch report paragraph 3).In early February of the year 2017, the Rouseff administration was able to garner the congress approval that saw the passing of the counterterrorism bill that has threatened even the most basic human rights such as the freedom of association (Posner). The bill has over exaggerated the definition of terms such as terrorism that can be used against peaceful groups of people. By the year 2014 Brazil spearheaded the advocacy for digital rights which saw the digital bill enacted into law. In 2016 president Dilma signed a bill that protected the citizen’s right to privacy.
However, some developments within the judicial system have violated the law that gives citizens the right to privacy (Mansfield-Devine). In February 2015 the judges ordered that WhatsApp and Facebook messenger be blocked from service all over the country. This was extended to arrest of executives who were found to go against the order, for example, a Facebook executive was arrested for failing to hand over information to the authorities (Brazil: Violations of Freedom of Expression, 2015 Annual Report).
A Comparison of Brazil and Peru
According to reports by watch report, both countries have been maligned with issues of extrajudicial killings which is a violation of human rights. However, unlike Brazil Peru has taken action by carrying out investigation on the police force. For example, in 2016 the vice minister of interior security Ruben Vargas made a confirmation that there were serious indications that a group of the police force was responsible for 20 extrajudicial killings by the year 2015. Peru is taking stringent action with suspected police officer undergoing criminal investigation a move that has reduced killings of innocent citizens in Peru (peru:events of 2016).
Is Brazil in violation of the UDHR?
The UDHR was formed by the UN in a bid to uphold human rights to protect citizens from violations of human rights that were torture oriented, sex-oriented or those that were linked to freedom of expression. However, Brazil is among the many members countries of the UN that continue to violate human rights with impunity, and yet no action is taken. For example, the prohibition of extrajudicial killings is a rule that is central to the protection of human rights, but Brazil continues to violate (Brazil: Police Abuses Feed Cycle of Violence).
Extrajudicial killings, torture, and suppression of freedom of expression are among the gravest violation of human rights acts that are being witnessed in Brazil. With the election of Brazil to the Human right council, there are some hopes that human right violation is likely to reduce. However, the government needs to work extra hard to rectify the situation in Brazil if citizens are going to leave in peace and free of anxiety and fear.
- “Brazil: Police Abuses Feed Cycle of Violence.” 12 January 2017. Human Rights watch.
- “Brazil: Violations of Freedom of Expression, 2015 Annual Report.” 3 May 2016.
- Hoy. “Extrajudicial killings undermine security in Brazil, HRW says.” 7 July 2016. The San Diego Union Tribute.
- Mansfield-Devine, Steve. ” The privacy dilemma.” Network Security (2015): 5-10.
- “peru:events of 2016.” 2017. human rights watch. 11 Novemeber 2017
- Posner, Eric. “The case against human rights.” 4 December 2014. The guardian. 11 November 2017.