DOS Cable re: Human Rights in Brazil

State Department cable focusing on Comments by Mary Robinson, UN high commisoner for Human Rights, about the nexis of poverty and human rights in Brazil.

Doc_type: 
Cable
Doc_date: 
Thursday, February 7, 2002
Doc_rel_date: 
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Doc_text: 

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637F8C 071437Z /38
P 071433Z FEB 02
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC•PRIORITY 6789 RELEASED IN FULL
INFO AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY

USMISSION GENEVA
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
AMCONSUL RECIFE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 000494

. DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC
CARACAS FOR AMBASSADOR HRINAK

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: PHUM, PREL, PGOV, SOCI, UNHRC-1, BR
SUBJECT: UNHRC COMMISSIONER MARY ROBINSON PRAISES
HUMAN RIGHTS PROGRESS IN BRAZIL

1. SUMMARY. UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
MARY ROBINSON ADDRESSED DIPLOMATIC CORPS, GOB
OFFICIALS, AND CIVIL SOCIETY REPRESENTATIVES IN

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BRASILIA ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN BRAZIL AND ABROAD. SHE
BOTH PRAISED AND CRITICIZED STEPS TAKEN TOWARDS
IMPROVING HUMAN RIGHTS IN BRAZIL. HER COMMENTS WERE
GENERALLY POSITIVE AND WELL-RECEIVED. END SUMMARY.

2. UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS MARY ROBINSON
SPOKE JANUARY 31 AT MRE FOR ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE
DEPARTING FOR THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN PORTO ALEGRE.
ROBINSON'S 20-MINUTE FORMAL PRESENTATION TOUCHED ON
THREE AREAS: HER VISITS TO BRAZIL; SEPTEMBER 11 AND
ITS IMPACT ON HUMAN RIGHTS; AND THE DURBAN WORLD

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE REVIEW AUTHORITY: SHARON E AHMAD DATE/CASE ID: 03 NOV 2004 200303827 DOS-001890
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CONFERENCE AGAINST RACISM (WCAR). SHE INVITED
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE, COMPOSED OF COMS, MRE
PERSONNEL, CIVIL SOCIETY REPS, AND THE MEDIA.

3.
ALSO PRESENT ON THE DAIS WITH HER WERE MINISTER OF
JUSTICE ALOISIO NUNES FERREIRA, U/S FOR BILATERAL
POLITICAL AFFAIRS AMBASSADOR GILBERTO SABOIA (THE
FORMER STATE SECRETARY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS) AND CURRENT
STATE SECRETARY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS PAULO SERGIO
PINHEIRO.

4.
ROBINSON BEGAN BY FOCUSING ON BRAZIL'S HUMAN RIGHTS
PROBLEMS. SHE SAID THAT TORTURE OF PRISONERS,
DISCRIMINATION -'PRINCIPALLY RACIAL - AND ABUSE
CONTINUE IN BRAZIL, AND ACKNOWLEDGED THAT RECENT
VIOLENCE AGAINST POLITICAL FIGURES AND OTHERS HAS
GIVEN SECURITY ISSUES A HIGHER PRIORITY SINCE HER LAST
VISIT. BUT SHE ALSO EMPHASIZED THAT THERE HAVE BEEN
SIGNIFICANT INDICATIONS PROGRESS BY THE GOB SINCE HER
VISIT IN MAY 2000, THE MOST PROMINENT OF WHICH WAS

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PRESIDENT CARDOSO'S DECEMBER 19 OPEN INVITATION FOR
HUMAN RIGHTS RAPPORTEURS TO VISIT BRAZIL. SHE ALSO
CITED PARTICIPATION BY CIVIL ORGANIZATIONS AS VITAL TO
CONTINUED PROGRESS.

5.
TURNING TO THE DURBAN WCAR-AGENDA, MS. ROBINSON
EFFUSIVELY PRAISED THE WORK OF AMBASSADOR SABOIA AND
THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BRAZILIAN DELEGATION, BOTH AT
THE GENEVA PREPCON AND IN THEIR LEADERSHIP OF THE
WORKING GROUP ON THE PROGRAM OF ACTION. SHE
ACKNOWLEDGED THAT SHE HAD ONLY RECENTLY BECOME AWARE
OF THE EXTENT OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION IN BRAZIL AND
THE NEED TO ADDRESS THE LINK BETWEEN POVERTY. AND
COLOR. SHE NOTES THAT ONE MORE INDICATION OF THE
GOB'S SERIOUSNESS ON HUMAN RIGHTS HAS BEEN ITS RECENT
ESTABLISHMENT OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION PROGRAMS IN
SEVERAL SECTORS OF SOCIETY, INCLUDING EDUCATION AND
GOVERNMENT OFFICES.

6.
DURING THE QUESTION PERIOD, WHICH WAS ABBREVIATED
BY A POWER OUTAGE, THE REPRESENTATIVE OF A BAH'AI
ORGANIZATION NOTED THAT THE WORLD SOCIAL FORUM IN
PORTO ALEGRE IS SCHEDULED TO TREAT RACISM AND THE
"NEGRO ISSUE" IN BRAZIL. MS . ROBINSON NOTED THAT
RACISM IS INDEED AN ISSUE IN BRAZIL. THEN, RESHAPING
THE QUESTION, SHE ADDED THAT GLOBALIZATION, IF DEFINED

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IN MARKET TERMS, TENDS TO PIT THE STRONG AGAINST THE
WEAK. SHE SAID SHE HOPED THAT WSF PARTICIPANTS WOULD
RECOGNIZE THAT EFFECTIVENESS REQUIRES THAT THEIR

ENERGIES BE HARNESSED TO SHAPE AN ALTERNATIVE,

"ETHICAL GLOBALIZATION." MERELY OPPOSING

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GLOBALIZATION, SHE CONTINUED, WILL ONLY LEAD TO THEIR

BEING MARGINALIZED AS "UNREALISTIC" IN THE FACE OF A

TREND, WHICH IS ALREADY WELL ESTABLISHED. ANOTHER

QUESTIONER, CLAIMING HE REPRESENTED BRAZILIAN GAYS,
LESBIANS AND TRANSVESTITES, COMPLAINED THAT THE DURBAN

CONFERENCE GAVE SHORT SHRIFT TO THE SITUATION OF THOSE

GROUPS AND SUGGESTED THEY DESERVED CONSIDERATION EQUAL

TO THAT AFFORDED OTHER DISCRIMINATED-AGAINST SECTORS.

THE HIGH COMMISSIONER IMPLICITLY ACKNOWLEDGED THE

VALIDITY OF THE COMMENTARY BUT MADE NO PLEDGES;

AMBASSADOR SABOIA POINTED OUT THAT THE DECEMBER 2000

SANTIAGO PREPCON HAD PRODUCED EXCELLENT LANGUAGE ON
THE ISSUE.

7. ROBINSON FELT THAT A KEY RESULT OF SEPTEMBER 11 HAD
BEEN AN ENORMOUS CHANGE IN ASSUMPTIONS, AS WELL AS NEW
PRESSURES ON HUMAN RIGHTS. SHE SAID THAT IT WAS
NECESSARY TO RESPOND TO TERRORISM VIGOROUSLY AND IN A
COORDINATED WAY, THROUGH ESTABLISHMENT OF A COALITION,
AND FOR THE UNSC TO ACT EARLY AND EFFECTIVELY - E.G.

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INFO LOG-00 NP-00DACQ-00DCIAE-00 INL-00DDODE-00 DS-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VC-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 I0-00 LAB-01 VCE-00 AC-01 DCP-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 ACE-00 IRM-00 TEST-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00 DRL-02 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /007W 637F98 071438Z /38
P 071433Z FEB 02

FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6790
INFO AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY

USMISSION GENEVA

USMISSION USUN NEW YORK

AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO

AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

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Document Number: 2002BRASIL00494

AMCONSUL RECIFE

UNCLAS SECTION 02 OF 02 BRASILIA 000494

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC

CARACAS FOR AMBASSADOR HRINAK

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: PHUM, PREL, PGOV, SOCI, UNHRC-1, BR
SUBJECT: UNHRC COMMISSIONER MARY ROBINSON PRAISES
HUMAN RIGHTS PROGRESS IN BRAZIL

RESOLUTION 1373 AND ITS MANDATED CT COOPERATION.

8. BUT, SHE CONTINUED, THERE IS ALSO AN EMERGING TREND
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OF ERODING HUMAN RIGHTS - E.G. IN JOURNALISM, IN
PROTECTIONS DUE PRISONERS - TO WHICH THE ONLY
EFFECTIVE LONG-TERM RESPONSE IS TO MAINTAIN AND
STRENGTHEN INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS,
INCLUDING THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS.

9.
FORMER OAS HR CHIEF HELIO BICUDO, A DEAN AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF SAO PAULO, ASKED ABOUT "POWS" AT
GUANTANAMO. ROBINSON REPLIED THAT SHE WAS HEARTENED
BY THE STRONG RESPONSE FROM U.S. ORGANIZATIONS,
INCLUDING HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
AND AI, REGARDING GUANTANAMO. SHE SAID THAT QUESTIONS
OF AFGHANISTAN'S PAST, INCLUDING IMPUNITY, NEED TO BE
ADDRESSED IN THE LONG TERM; BUT THAT IT IS NECESSARY
NOW TO ADDRESS THE STATUS OF "DETAINEES" AT
GUANTANAMO. SHE PRAISED THE ICRC'S POSITION FAVORING,
SHE SAID, THE PRESUMPTION OF POW STATUS. SHE SAID
THAT A TRIBUNAL SHOULD ADJUDICATE CASES WHERE THE
DETAINEE'S STATUS IS AMBIGUOUS, AND THAT THE US HAS
THE RIGHT TO PUT FORWARD EVIDENCE IN INDIVIDUAL
INSTANCES. RESPONDING TO ANOTHER QUESTION, SHE SAID
THAT AS HIGH COMMISSIONER SHE IS DUTY-BOUND TO SPEAK
OUT ON SITUATIONS SUCH AS CAMP X-RAY, AND THAT IT IS
AN HONOR TO DEFEND THOSE WHO HAVE NO OTHER VOICE.

10.
COMMENT: ROBINSON'S POLISHED PRESENTATION BROKE NO
NEW GROUND. THE GOB REPRESENTATIVES WERE CLEARLY
PLEASED BY HER REMARKS ON THE PROGRESS MADE DURING THE
INTERVAL BETWEEN THE HIGH COMMISSIONER'S TWO VISITS
AND TOOK HER CRITICISM IN STRIDE.

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11. COMMENT CONTINUED. HER PRESENCE ALSO HAD THE
EFFECT OF HIGHLIGHTING THE INEXCUSABLE REMARKS OF THE
GOVERNOR OF THE FEDERAL DISTRICT AT A SATELLITE CITY
RALLY ON FEBRUARY 1, WHEN HE CALLED ON THE CROWD TO
RESPOND TO CRITICAL PLACARDS BY BOOING ONE OF THE
DEMONSTRATORS, DESCRIBING HIM AS "THAT LEFTIST NIGGER"

(CRIOULO PETISTA). THE GOB WAS QUICK TO REACT, WITH
HUMAN RIGHTS SECRETARY PINHEIRO IMMEDIATELY ISSUING A
SCATHING DENUNCIATION AND OTHER AUTHORITIES INDICATING
THEY WERE LOOKING AT HOW CHARGES MIGHT BE FILED. THE
EPISODE NONETHELESS VALIDATED IN AN EMBARRASSING WAY
MS. ROBINSON'S COMMENTS ON THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF
RACISM IN BRAZIL. END COMMENT.

OROZCO

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Doc_nid: 
6493
Doc_type_num: 
68