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The arrival of conservative president Jair Bolsonaro was like taking a sledgehammer to the enjoyment of human rights in Brazil, a country that already had difficulties respecting its obligations under the Convention against Torture and its Optional Protocol (OPCAT). The new policies have aimed at dismantling the National Mechanism to Prevent and Combat Torture (MNCPT), including through a 2019 decision to stop obliging federal states to take into account the MNCPT’s recommendations. This has left prisoners, including children, more vulnerable than ever to serious abuse in detention. Torture and other ill-treatment are already rife in a detention system characterized by extreme overcrowding.
Together with SOS-Torture Network member GAJOP, the OMCT has redoubled its efforts to monitor the situation of children deprived of liberty and provide them with protection. Both organisations have been closely working with the MNCPT and local prevention mechanisms, particularly in Pernambuco state, to prevent and fight as much as possible torture and other ill-treatment. Since April 2020, a Brazilian civil society organisation is part of OMCT’s new working group on Indigenous Peoples and Torture, which aims at making visible the torture suffered by these populations on the subcontinent.