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7 Jun 2019

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Brazil: UN expresses concern over decree which could undermine civic space

“Mandates of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; the Special Rapporteur on the right to food; the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders; the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members; the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences; the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights”, 7th June 2019

…In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of your Excellency’s Government information we have received concerning the presidential Decree n. 9759/2019…which according to its title “extinguishes and establishes guidelines, rules and limitations” for the administration of federal public collegiate bodies, through a number of provisions reversing the mechanisms necessary for the exercise of fundamental freedoms and the participation of civil society actors in public affairs…The Decree dissolves federal councils and commissions, instances in which civil society directly participates…We are seriously concerned that the adoption this Decree…is likely to undermine civic space in Brazil by regulating the dissolution of a number of collegiate bodies for inter-ministerial cooperation and, most importantly, civil society participation within the federal government. Over the years, participation from civil society actors has allowed different sectors of the population in Brazil to become more directly involved in the public administration, particularly in the design, implementation, and control over public policies. Formal participation structures, such as the committees and working groups the Decree abolishes, are considered a good practice to ensure participation in decision-making. These participatory structures have the added benefit of reducing discrimination and inequalities, by allowing the participation of diverse sectors of society that may be marginalized or discriminated against…