Brazil: UN denounces Bolsonaro’s attacks on democracy

by Maurizio Sacchi

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet condemned the upcoming demonstration by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on 25 August against judicial institutions and declared that the human rights situation in the country is “very difficult”. Bachelet’s complaint is particularly serious when there is just over a month to go before the presidential elections. “I think President Bolsonaro stepped up his attacks on the judiciary and the electronic voting system, including during a meeting with ambassadors in July that sparked strong reactions, as you know,” Bachelet said at a press conference in Geneva, referring to at a briefing in which Bolsonaro expressed unfounded concerns about electoral fraud to diplomats in Brazil. “This, in my opinion, is more worrying: the President called his supporters to protest against the judicial institutions on 7 September, the day of the 200th anniversary of Brazil’s independence”.

The attack on the judiciary started after the Supreme Tribunal Federal (Stf), the highest justice body in the country, authorized searches in the homes and blocking of the social profiles of eight entrepreneurs close to president Jair Bolsonaro, including entrepreneurs Luciano Hang and Meyer Joseph Nigri. The businessmen have been accused of praising a possible coup to thwart the eventual victory of the opposition leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the presidential elections, scheduled for next October 2, based on some revelations of the online newspaper Metrópoles. The newspaper had made public a series of claims that the entrepreneurs exchanged on a Whatsapp group. Authorizing the measure was judge Alexandre de Moraes, who is also the president of the Brazilian electoral body and one of the most criticized by Bolsonaro. Moraes is also leading an investigation into the presumed spread of fake news about Covid-19 vaccines by the president.

Bachelet also denounced the “very difficult human rights situation” in Brazil, highlighting reports of an increase in political violence, structured racism and the reduction of civic space. “I believe that the attacks on lawmakers and candidates, especially those of African descent, women and LGBTI people, are particularly worrying,” said the former Chilean president. “When a leader starts using language that can be used in the wrong direction, I think it’s really bad … Leaders need to make sure that the country is able to progress where there is dialogue and respect for each other, because this is the meaning of democracy ”, he has added the Bachelet. Lula, president between 2003 and 2010, turns out leads in polls with 47 percent, followed by Bolsonaro with 32, according to a survey by the Datafolha Institute published on August 18. Other surveys confirm Lula’s advantage, albeit with a smaller gap.

In the picture, Michelle Bachelet (official photo from the UN News Center). In the text: Jair Bolsonaro

Brazil: UN denounces Bolsonaro’s attacks on democracy