Pope Francis has been asked to join in the defense of Brazilian democracy. At a meeting in Rome this Friday, he received a letter from a religious person in the country, prepared by Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, the Commission for the Defense of Human Rights, in which he was called upon to support the election process for the pope.
The Vatican is intended to be one of the foreign agencies to recognize the results of surveys, an operation by various organizations with foreign governments, the UN and parliaments abroad.
Brazilian civil society is acting in a coordinated way abroad, trying to ensure that a break in national democracy is not justified abroad, at least in the main democracies and centers of power.
In the case of the Vatican, the meeting took place between Dom Pedro Luiz Stringhini, bishop of Mogi das Cruzes (SP), who delivered the letter on appeal, and the Pope.
The content of the meeting was kept confidential. But as the months passed, Francisco showed signs that he did not agree with the ways of Brazilian politics, receiving chief Raoní in the audience, inviting him to a meeting on the Amazon, and speaking openly about human rights.
“Brazil is preparing to choose those who will guide its destiny, starting with who will assume the presidency of the Republic. For the Brazilian people: democracy,” the Arns Commission said in a letter to the Pope, obtained exclusively by the column. .
For the group, Francisco could play a key role in allowing Brazilian society “to exercise its fundamental right to choose a better and better future for itself.”
After receiving the document, the pope remembered the role of Bishop Paulo Arns. “He was a great guy,” said the Argentinean.
In the letter, the Arns Commission requests that the situation in Brazil be closely monitored by the Vatican. “Brazilians and Brazilians from every corner, of all cultures and faiths, need your gaze and support right now. In 2013, Francisco Aparecida stressed the importance of keeping courage, living the faith when discouragement overtakes us, and holding back hope.
“On October 2, 2022, voters go to the polls under pressure not only from life’s ups and downs but also from threats to disrupt the democratic order.
According to them, the democratic process was “affected by hate speech emanating from official offices, dividing Brazilians, playing against each other”. “Promotes the extermination of black and poor youth above all in the context of a criminal project aimed at arming the people, stigmatizing women, Afro-descendants, indigenous people, believers of different religions,
The text also denounces deep injustices and the fact that the country is facing “hard times”.
Unemployment reaching millions, hunger has returned to homes, 690,000 lives have been lost due to Kovid-19, there are explosions of violence in the countryside or in the city, and our forests continue to be consumed by fires, wood smuggling, mines polluting rivers. “It kills fish, it poisons people,” he says.
“There is no problem in this vast Brazil that would have it all to embrace a promising future project aimed at inclusion, social justice and solidarity and the common good,” he says.
International pressure is growing
In addition to the action in the Vatican, the election in Brazil sparked unprecedented international attention. This week, the Brazilian government received a statement from eight UN (United Nations) rapporteurs who came together to ask Brazilian officials, candidates and political parties to ensure that the next elections “will be peaceful and prevent electoral violence.” The declaration came a few days after President Jair Bolsonaro used the UN tribune to campaign politically, a gesture that infuriated foreign governments by Brazil’s stance.
The statement criticizes the attacks on the judiciary and ballot boxes without even mentioning the name of the President of Brazil, and warns about the impact of this behavior on the survival of democracy. Behind the scenes, UN sources confirmed that the measure was a way to pressure the government not to violate election rules.
Brazil cannot be sanctioned for the statements of the rapporteurs. But the statement serves as a warning that the international community is unwilling to accept a democratic collapse in the country. Should Bolsonaro choose this path, the effect will be almost immediate international condemnation.
“We urge the authorities to duly protect and respect the work of electoral institutions. We also express our concerns about the impact of such attacks on the upcoming presidential elections and stress the importance of protecting and securing judicial independence,” the experts said. aforementioned.
The declaration was signed by Clément Nyaletossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of association, Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and Girls, Francisco Cali Tzay, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and Mary Lawlor. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; Morris Tidball-Binz, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Sudden or Arbitrary Executions; E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Irene Khan, Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Expression and Opinion; Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.
Last month, then-UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet criticized Bolsonaro’s attacks on democratic institutions and polls and incitement to violence. His stance prompted Itamaraty to present a formal protest against Chile.
At the beginning of the year, he had already warned of the risk of violence that caused the government to speak out against Bachelet, demanding “no interference” in the Brazilian election.
Attacks on power and democracy
Experts, without naming President Jair Bolsonaro, also expressed concern over the “continued campaign of defamation and continued attacks on democratic institutions, the judiciary and the electoral system in Brazil, including the electronic electoral system.”
“We are concerned that this hostile environment poses a threat to political participation and democracy, and we urge the State to protect candidates from any threat, intimidation or attack, online and offline,” the rapporteurs said. Said.
The experts also stressed that “everyone involved in the electoral process should display a peaceful behavior before, during and after the elections”.
“Candidates and political parties should avoid using offensive language that could lead to violence and human rights violations,” he said. Experts said that hate speech, gender disinformation and incitement by candidates and their supporters during the election campaign may trigger violence.
According to them, “it is up to the state to ensure that all electoral processes are non-discriminatory, free of misinformation, hate speech and incitement to violence. All fundamental freedoms, including freedom of assembly and association and freedom of expression, must be defended”, the eight rapporteurs said.
“We urged the Brazilian authorities to take specific measures targeting those most at risk, including women, Afro-Brazilians, indigenous peoples and LGBTI people, to ensure that everyone can freely participate in the electoral process without fear of discrimination, harassment or potential repetition. violence?” they asked.