Brazil: Justice Rosa Weber suspends controversial slavery decree that would put fight against slave labour at risk

Brazil rural worker_credit_Cicero Omena_

Justice Rosa Weber of the Federal Supreme Court suspended on on October 24 the decree that jeopardized the fight against slave labour and had been published by the Ministry of Labour on 16 October. The decree has been harshly criticized by officials and civil society. “Campaigners, commentators and prosecutors said the move was a "social regression" aimed at buying the support of a powerful agribusiness lobby ahead of a crucial vote in congress that could cost President Michel Temer his mandate” (The Guardian). To know more about the decree and the concerns about it, see here.

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25 October 2017

Brazil: Justice Rosa Weber of the Federal Supreme Court suspends controversial slavery decree that would put at risk the fight against slave labour

Author: Ricardo Brito and Anthony Boadle, Reuters (UK)

"Brazil's top court suspends controversial slavery decree", 24 October 2017

...Brazil's Supreme Court has suspended a decree issued by President Michel Temer's government changing the definition of slavery that was widely condemned as a reversal in the fight against forced labour. In her decision...Justice Rosa Weber said the decree's reduction of the scope of what is considered slave labour violated the constitution. Weber also argued that the measure could hurt Brazil's trade relations since other countries could complain that slave labour was a form of unfair competition...In Brazil, forced labour has been defined as a form of modern-day slavery. This includes debt bondage, degrading work conditions, and long work hours that pose a risk to a worker's health or life, and violate their dignity. Human rights campaigners said the decree issued by the labour ministry...changed the way slavery was defined, limiting it to a victim's freedom of movement but disregarding other abuses.The decree, supported by Brazil's powerful farm lobby, would derail enforcement efforts that have freed 50,000 workers from slavery-like conditions since 1995, federal prosecutors and labour inspectors said. Temer opponents said he bowed to pressure from the farm lobby to modify the decree at a time when he is relying on the group's votes in Congress on Wednesday to block corruption charges against him."In exchange for support to escape a criminal trial, Temer promised the farm lobby goods he cannot deliver," said lawmaker Alessandro Molon of...Sustainability Network, the party that asked the court to stop the decree...

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