Note from BW of Brazil: If you didn’t already know, let me inform you: The situation of the black population in Brazil is serious. As if things such as education, health care, living wages and representation weren’t enough, being black in Brazil means one has to struggle, be careful and watch every step you make just to stay alive. Why do I say this? Again, it ain’t hard to tell. Being black in Brazil means you are more likely to be imprisoned or have your life taken away by everyday violence, death squads or murderous police agents.
The situation is dire and something must be done…IMMEDIATELY! This is the reason that, on March 26th, several members of various entities of the Movimento Negro, Brazil’s black rights organizations, came together to meet with the President of Federal Câmara dos Deputados, (the equivalent of the House of Representatives) Rodrigo Maia, to discuss a recent anti-crime bill that was delivered by Minister of Justice and Public Security, Sérgio Moro, to Maia on February 19th. The country’s far right conservative president, Jair Bolsonaro, signed the bill and now it is being discussed among lawmakers.
As I pointed out in a previous post, the term “anti-crime” may sound like a good thing in a country in which crime, violence and corruption have been out of control for several decades, but experts and analysts that have studied the entire package have concluded that the wording of the bill could have severe consequences on black Brazilians and could lead to even more murders of the black population by security forces with a higher possibility killer cops going unpunished as well as increased prison sentences.
The change proposed by Moro would be imprisonment after second instance trial, which, in essence, would remove the idea that one is innocent until proven guilty. It seems that Moro, with the strong support of Bolsonaro, want to push through this bill to incarcerate even more people in a country that now has the third highest prison population in the world. This amendment would simply add to the 40% of prisoners who have been incarcerated without a trial and serving pre-trial detention. This in a Brazil in which prison conditions are already horrendous, overcrowded and violate basic human right standards.
The bill also provides police officers with a broader possibility of not be punished for excessive force in police actions. According to experts, the bill would allow for security forces to claim self-defense and have any sentencing reduced to half or eliminated if the officer claims he acted with excess force due to unnecessary fear, surprise or violent emotion.
We’ve already seen enough cases in which cops walk after shooting down mostly non-white Brazilians in cold blood and then walking free. This bill comes down and is signed by a president who has already vowed to give police forces free reign to kill more people. It is for these reasons that activists of the Movimento Negro moved with urgency to meet with Maia, who received this bill from Moro on February 19th.
Below are the criticism’s of the bill, a denouncement to the ICHR and a letter from entities of the Movimento Negro to the President of the Câmara with a list of important issues that they feel need to be defended in the best interests of the black population.
Black Movement Denounces Moro to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
According to experts, the “anti-crime” package proposed by the minister may aggravate genocide of black and poor youth
Courtesy of Ponte Jornalismo
A group of 39 social movements working to guarantee the rights of the black population came together to demand of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Organization of American States (OAS), actions against the anti-crime package proposed by Minister Sérgio Moro. Responsible for Justice and Public Security in the Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) government, he proposes legal changes to solve the current security crisis.
According to the document sent by the group, the changes proposed by Moro will have the opposite result of what the minister said. There is the understanding that these changes would lead to further deepening social inequality in the country, as well as to maintain and aggravate the imprisonment and genocide of black and peripheral youth, as they maintain.
Sérgio Moro’s anti-crime package is criticized by experts, who believe there may be a legal loophole for police officers to kill in operation, a sort of “license to kill.”
There is detailing of the criticisms made by the movimento negro point by point, from the imprisonment in the second instance, that “the right to the presumption of innocence is opened up, which will lead to imprisonment of numerous people who have not had their sentence defined”, to the exclusion of unlawfulness for police agents, action with power whose reflection may be in “reducing the investigations of deaths committed by police, giving rise to the increase of police lethality,” the movements maintain.
“The ‘Anti Crime Package’ ignores facts, evidence, research, academic and scientific elaborations, as well as the whole mobilization of society around the theme, and proposes something dissonant to what has been discussed and defended as a solution to the serious security problem experienced in Brazil. How can we not characterize such initiatives as deliberate attacks and violations of human rights in our country?” asks the text.
The document brings analyzes of eight experts on the package, among them Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, former minister of the Secretariat of Human Rights. “The proposal brings a delusional exclusion of criminality. This package will not bring improvement in public safety to anyone,” analyzes Pinheiro. According to Daniella Meggiolaro, a criminal lawyer and director of IDDD, if the changes are approved, “black women will be increasingly affected, as they are the mothers of young black men killed by the police.”
The movement calls for an official position on the part of the IACHR, in the figures of the commissioners Antonia Urrejola and Margarette May, and the executive secretary Paulo Abrão; international observations on the proposals for the National Congress, which will evaluate the application or not of the changes; the creation of a channel of dialogue with the movimento negro brasileiro (black Brazilian movement); that the IACHR adopt measures that guarantee the rights of the black population; and, finally, holding hearings for the motion to submit its demands to the Commission.
The document is signed by entities such as Ampararar (Associação de Amigos e Familiares de Presos or Association of Friends and Families of Prisoners), Cooperifa, Grupo Kilombagem, Movimento Independente Mães de Maio, MNU (Movimento Negro Unificado), Rede de Proteção e Resistência Contra o Genocídio and Uneafro Brasil, among others.
Letter from entities of the black movement to the President of the Chamber of Deputies
Brasilia, March 26, 2019
Letter from entities of the black movement to the President of the Câmara dos Deputados (Chamber of Deputies), Rodrigo Maia
Historically, the Brazilian State has encouraged, rather than eliminated, the standards of inequality and discrimination to which the black Brazilian population is subjected. Recent declarations of parliamentarians and members of the executive branch, as well as the proposal of certain bills, indicate the worsening of this situation.
We demand your commitment to the rights of the povo negro (black people). It is essential that in your mandate in the presidency of the Câmara Federal (Federal Chamber of Deputies) you undertake not to support projects that place at tisk rights attained by the struggle of the black movement, and that work for advancement:
- The right to education:
– for the preservation of Law No. 12.711, of August 29, 2012, known as the Quota Law, which guarantees the reservation of 50% of enrollments per course and shift in the federal universities and federal institutes of education, science and technology to black and white students from public high school in regular courses or the education of young people and adults, guaranteeing a percentage minimum corresponding to that of the sum of pretos (blacks), pardos (browns) and indigenous in each state. It is worth remembering the legitimacy of the quotas, an historic conquest of the black movement, recognized by the Federal Supreme Court in ADPF 186 in a unanimous decision after intense analyzes and debates of experts in education and fundamental rights. The democratic process included different positions and resulted in the approval of racial and social quotas, which resulted in a new milestone in Brazilian education, being a world reference for the realization of the human right to education. This process, therefore must be respected;
– ensure extension of quotas in post-graduate programs and in the competitions for teachers of universities and federal institutes;
– require the Ministry of Education (MEC) and Universities to carry out student permanence policies for quota students;
– full compliance with the National Education Plan (PNE), sanctioned by law in 2014, which sets out goals and strategies for a quality education from pre-school to post-graduate education;
– strengthen public policies and ensure the implementation of a mechanism to implement the curriculum guidelines on the history of Africa and Afro-Brazilian and indigenous cultures provided for in article 26 of the LDB and in Laws 10.639/2003 and 11.645/2008;
– strengthen policies aimed at reducing school dropout, age-grade discrepancy of students belonging to discriminated against ethnic and racial groups.
- the right to justice:
– promote policies to combat violence against the black population, in particular against the homicides that take the lives of black youth and the feminicide of black women;
– ensure actions to counter violations of the right to worship and belief, with a view to combating discrimination against religions of African origin;
– require of the executive power an adequate budget for the implementation of the policies to promote racial equality against racism, violence;
– investigation of the murders of quilombolas in the struggle for rights.
- right to land, territory and environmental justice:
guarantee the preservation, protection, demarcation, homologation and unconditional registration of quilombola, indigenous lands, and those of other traditional peoples. It is also necessary to ensure budgetary resources of the Union for the titling of lands and for the development of social and economic policies aimed at the sustainable development of these communities, with the participation of stakeholders in decision-making processes;
– revocation of the agreement signed between Brazil and the United States regarding the use of the Alcântara base by another country, so that the communities have their rights, especially land regularization, made effective;
– interrupt the construction project of the Nuclear Power Plant in the Quilombola territories of Itacuruba in Pernambuco;
– promote environmental policies that prevent the removal and disposal of environmental patrimony and other resources, the use of pesticides and other poisons in agriculture and other animal husbandry crops, and the dumping of debris and waste in areas where the black population resides;
– supervision by the executive branch in guaranteeing the preservation of the environment and the culture of traditional, quilombola and indigenous communities and in promoting alternative sources of clean energy, as well as democratization, decentralization and public management of energy in order to guarantee the right of traditional communities and rural populations to access it, in expanding universal access to drinking water, urban cleaning and basic sanitation, in promoting food sovereignty and access to healthy, adequate and quality food, free of pesticides and non-GMOs;
– Prior, Free and Informed Consultation, as provided for in ILO Convention 169, for the construction of enterprises in territories of traditional communities.
- the right to social security – health, welfare and social security:
– ensure that the black population has access to essential health services, care and social security;
– refuse the Bolsonaro pension project, which withdraws rights and worsens the living conditions of the majority of the population. For a Social Security that is public, universal and solidary, recognizing the rights of retirement for all people, not only for those who can pay for the profit of banks and insurance companies;
– to monitor institutional racism in public and private organizations and in their different policies, plans and programs of action;
– demand from the executive the implementation of the National Policy for Full Health of the Black Population in the Sistema Único de Saúde (Unified Health System);
– require the implementation of policies on sexual and reproductive rights in the areas of education, health and safety, ensuring respect to free sexual orientation, gender identities, women’s autonomy, the right to abortion, as well as promoting actions focused on sexual health and reproductive health.
- the right to public security:
– acknowledge the flagrant human rights violations of the “Anti-Crime Package” presented to the National Congress by the Minister of Justice and Public Security, Sérgio Moro, of the Jair Bolsonaro government. The proposal ignores facts, evidence, research, academic and scientific elaborations, and all the mobilization of society around the theme, and proposes something dissonant to what has been discussed and defended as a solution to the serious public security problem experienced in Brazil;
– filing of PL-00729/2019 presented by Deputado (Representative) Daniel Silveira PSL/RJ, which regulates the compulsory assignment of organs, in the case in which the corpse shows signs of death as a result of criminal action. The PL has already been returned because it is manifestly unconstitutional under the terms of article 137, paragraph 1, point II (b) of the RICD;
– eradicate institutional racism from security policies by curbing the use of racial violence that produces high rates of homicide against the black population through public security policies based on human rights;
– promote the participation, design and social control of public security policies, taking into account, fundamentally, the participation of the black movement in the deliberative councils of these policies;
– demand from the executive actions to confront the genocide of black youth, with the active participation of the groups involved.
- the right to work
– for the preservation of Law 12.990 of 2014, which establishes vacancies for blacks in concursos públicos (public sector recruitment examination) of the federal public administration, autarchies, public foundations, public companies and semi-public corporations controlled by the Union;
– the commitments made by Brazil in ratifying International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 111 of 1958, which deals with discrimination in employment and in the profession;
– promoting the processing of bills that ensure equal opportunities in the labor market for the black population, including through the implementation of measures to promote equality in public sector hiring and encouraging the adoption of similar measures in companies and private organizations.
- the ratification of international treaties
– promotion of ratification of the Inter-American Convention against Racism, Racial Discrimination and Related Forms of Intolerance and of the Inter-American Convention against All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, already adopted within the framework of the Organization of American States and signed by Brazil.
Below are a list of signatories:
Aliança Hip Hop Taquaril – BH
Alma Preta Jornalismo
Amma Psique e Negritude – SP
AMPARAR – Associação de Amigos e Familiares de Presos – SP
Aparelha Luzia – SP
Assessoria Popular Maria Felipa – BH
Bloco Afro Ilú Oba De Min – SP
Casa do Hip Hop do Taquaril – BH
Casa do Meio do Mundo – SP
CEDECA Mônica Paião Trevisan – SP
Ceert – Centro de Estudo das Relações de Trabalho e Desigualdades – SP
Centro de Direitos Humanos de Sapopemba – SP
Coletivo Força Ativa – SP
Coletivo Negro Vozes da UFABC – SP
Comunidade Cultural Quilombaque – SP
Comunidade de Samba Maria Cursi – SP
Comunidade de Samba Pagode na Disciplina Jardim Miriam – SP
CONEN – Coordenação Nacional de Entidades Negras
Cooperifa – SP
Criola – RJ
Cursinho Popular Carolina de Jesus – SP
Desenrola e Não me Enrola
Festival da Mulher Afro-Latina-Americana e Caribenha – Latinidades – DF
Fopir – Fórum Permanente pela Igualdade Racial
Fórum Grita Baixada – RJ
Grupo de Amigos e Familiares de Pessoas em Privação de Liberdade – MG
Grupo Kilombagem – SP
IDEAS – Assessoria Popular – BA
MMN – Marcha de Mulheres Negras – SP
MNU – Movimento Negro Unificado
Movimento Independente MÃES DE MAIO
NCN – Núcleo de Consciência Negra na USP
Pretas em Movimento – BH
Rede de Mulheres Negras de Minas Gerais – MG
Rede de Proteção e Resistência Contra Genocídio – SP
Rede Urbana de Ações Socioculturais- RUAS – DF
Ubuntu Cursinhos – SP
UNEGRO – União de Negros pela Igualdade