Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Brazil’s Truth Commission Report and Calls on the State to Implement its Recommendations

December 12, 2014

Washington, D.C. –The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights wishes to congratulate the Brazilian Truth Commission and the State of Brazil for the conclusion of the Truth Commission’s work. This achievement marks an important and historic moment for the country. The fight against grave human rights violations and the publication of the Truth Commission’s findings contribute to the strengthening of the democratic State and democracy in the Americas and elsewhere and provide a voice and hope to victims and their families.

International human rights law has recognized that everyone has a right to know the truth and the IACHR’s recent report on the Right to Truth in the Americas examines States’ obligations with regard to the goal of guaranteeing this right in the face of grave human rights violations. Mindful that, in the case of victims of human rights violations and their families, access to the truth about what occurred is a form of reparation, the IACHR recognizes Brazil’s contribution and efforts to guaranteeing the right to the truth and therefore providing some form of reparation to the victims of human rights violations and their families. Furthermore, the IACHR recognizes the critical role played by victims and their families in the Truth Commission’s work as they provided almost one thousand statements to the Truth Commission over the two and a half years.

Nevertheless, while welcoming the conclusion of the Truth Commission’s work with great satisfaction, the IACHR stresses that accountability is key to fighting impunity and to promoting and preserving justice and, bearing in mind the IACHR’s and the IACtHR’s position regarding Brazil’s amnesty law, the IACHR now urges the State of Brazil to comply with the Truth Commission’s recommendation so that the law does not continue to be an obstacle for the investigation of serious human rights violations, or for the identification and punishment of those responsible. Moreover, the IACHR agrees with the Truth Commission’s statement that its report does not mark the beginning or the end of the investigations into the grave human rights violations committed in Brazil and that it must be considered as a form of support that will guide the work that must still be carried out. The IACHR therefore urges the State to also comply with the 28 other recommendations made by the Truth Commission in order to fully guarantee and promote the human rights of victims, their families and all Brazilian citizens.

The Truth Commission’s report, handed to Brazil’s President Ms. Dilma Rousseff on December 10, 2014, international human rights day, contains important information regarding human rights violations committed between 1946 and 1988 in that country. The report names 377 public officials responsible for human rights violations committed at 230 different locations within the country during the period investigated. This list includes high level military officers and former presidents. The Truth Commission also notes that during the period investigated 434 persons were killed or forcibly disappeared. Moreover, the Truth Commission’s report details the persecution suffered by military officers that opposed the military regime as the Truth Commission found that 3,340 air force officers, 2,214 naval officers, 800 army officers and 237 police officers were persecuted by the military dictatorship. The report also analyzes the impact of grave human rights violations on different segments of society such as its impact on urban workers, peasants, indigenous populations, members of certain religious congregations, academics and the LGBT community.

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 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.

This is a corrected version of the press release originally issued. The correction was made on the same date that it was issued.

No. 151/14