In the light of violence that culminated in the murder of Brazilian politician and city councilor Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro on 14 March, and with the judicial and media persecution of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Education International has urged President Temer to ensure the respect for democracy and human rights.
In a letter addressed to Brazil’s President Michel Temer, entitled “Restoring Brazil as a Beacon of Democracy”, Education International (EI) General Secretary David Edwards called for the principles of democracy and human rights to be respected in the country.
Edwards expressed “profound concern with the deterioration of democracy and the escalation of violence in Brazil”. He continued: “Education International and its affiliates worldwide urge the government of Brazil to take decisive steps to come into compliance with its long-standing treaty obligations, to enforce national and international law to protect the fundamental rights to due process and to a fair trial for every Brazilian citizen. Whether the flickering light of Brazilian democracy restores itself as a beacon for the world depends largely on your leadership in these critical times.”
Concern at judicial treatment
Brazil’s Supreme Court, in a six-five decision, handed down a decision against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, denying him the ability to wait in freedom for final judicial decisions on his appeals. That may lead to the disqualification, in a separate process, of Lula from running for President in October elections. Public opinion polls show that Lula is clearly the front-runner. Edwards denounced “the long-standing campaign of political harassment and the glaring lack of evidence”. He expressed concern that “due legal process has been politicised and hijacked to influence the upcoming presidential elections”.
He also deeply regretted that “this occurs in a climate of increasing violence against human rights defenders, as highlighted in a statement from the UN Special Rapporteur who referred to the killing of Marielle Franco as an attempt “to intimidate all those fighting for human rights and the rule of law in Brazil”.
Education International comprises 400 education unions in 177 countries; included among its affiliates are the Brazilian unions, the Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) and the Federación de Sindicatos de Profesores de Instituciones Federales de Enseñanza Superior y Enseñanza Básica Técnica y Tecnológica de Brasil (Proifes).