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Human Rights above all, Human Rights above everyone

Note in support of human rights defenders in Brazil

Geneva, October 30, 2018.The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) notes with concern the election of Jair Messias Bolsonaro as president of Brazil, reiterates its commitment to the protection of democracy, and recalls for the new Government the absolute nature of the prohibition of torture, in any and all circumstances.

President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, on a number of occasions over the course of his political career and during his presidential campaign, has publicly declared himself in favour of torture and has delivered discriminatory and undemocratic speeches against minorities, women and human rights activists.

The OMCT stands in solidarity with human rights defenders in Brazil and reaffirms its commitment to protect human rights throughout the country, in collaboration with local civil society organizations, to promote full compliance with all international treaties duly ratified by the Brazilian State - notably commitments to prevent and combat torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.

The OMCT has worked with local civil society in Brazil for years, to defend human rights, and especially in the fight against torture and ill-treatment of children. In this context, we are also concerned about declarations made by the president-elect referring to those rights, especially those favouring the carrying of weapons by children and adolescents and the possible derogation of the main national law implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child - the Child and Adolescent Statute (ECA- law 8069/90).

The OMCT therefore, in good faith, calls on the new Brazilian Government, and invites the Brazilian judiciary, the Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Congress and organs of the National System for the Prevention and Combat against Torture, to fully exercise the defence and respect for constitutional and international norms and binding treaties, denounce and prosecute human rights violations, and preserve the rule of law.

In particular, we strongly urge President-elect Bolsonaro to refrain from incendiary speech that can give tacit approval to human rights violations, and to respect and guarantee the absolute prohibition of torture as part of his public security policy.

The OMCT repudiates all forms of hate speech and discourses that incite violence, reject rights and threatens democracy. We will be vigilant and supportive of the protection of the rights of women, children and adolescents, victims of torture, Afro-descendants, the LGBTI population, indigenous peoples, and any minority that may be threatened by public policies contrary to Brazil's international commitments. Nothing justifies the use of torture, under any circumstances, at any time.

For more information:

OMCT, Helena Solà Martín, Tel. +41 (0) 22 809 49 39, E-mail:

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