IACHR Condemns Attacks on Brazil's Democratic Institutions

January 23, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the violence perpetrated against institutions in Brasilia, that amounts to an attack on Brazilian democracy. These events left scores of people injured and caused damage to the buildings that house the Federal Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Presidential Palace. The IACHR calls on the State to investigate these events and to step up its efforts to strengthen democracy.

On January 8, supporters of the country's former president demonstrated in Brasilia to demand a military intervention to oust Brazil's legitimately elected government. Over the course of that day, demonstrators violently stormed facilities housing the three branches of government in the country's capital, Brasilia. At least 70 people were injured, the Health Ministry reported. According to the Union of Professional Journalists of the Federal District, at least 12 journalists were attacked and several had their equipment stolen or damaged. The violence was broadly condemned by other nations and by international organizations. Domestically, criminal proceedings were launched against the alleged perpetrators and masterminds of these attacks.

The IACHR rejects violence in demonstration contexts and stresses that the right to freedom of assembly must be exercised peacefully and without weapons. States must take any measures necessary to prevent violence, protect the safety of anyone involved, and preserve law and order, as well as investigate any violence, and try and punish anyone responsible for it, with full respect for due process.

The IACHR stresses that these were not isolated events, but rather happened in a context of deep social tension, political violence, misinformation, and moves to question without evidence the results of the 2022 presidential election. The Commission is therefore concerned about persistent serious tension affecting Brazil's social fabric in the wake of the election. The IACHR also notes with concern that similar events have happened in other countries in the Americas, where the democratic order has also been under threat.

The Commission urges public officials to stop encouraging or tolerating hate speech and to refrain from supporting the use of violence against officials, processes, and institutions that embody the rule of law. The IACHR stresses that authorities and public figures have a duty to check their comments with due diligence, based on their status.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 006/23

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