IACHR Calls on Brazil to Hold Peaceful Elections That Respect Representative Democracy and Human Rights

September 29, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the special measures adopted by Brazilian State institutions to guarantee free and fair elections on October 2. It also calls on the State to make the utmost efforts to prevent and combat any acts of intolerance that may result in political violence.

Of the various measures adopted, the IACHR takes particular note of the following: the agreement signed between the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) and the Electoral Attorney General's Office to combat gender-based political violence; the establishment of a monitoring center by the TSE, which seeks to combat political violence during the elections; and the creation by the National Council of Justice of specific criminal courts to try cases of political party-related violence. At the same time, the IACHR has noted the restrictions implemented by the TSE to prevent the entry of firearms into voting centers; and the granting of three precautionary measures by the Federal Supreme Court to limit the scope of the presidential decrees facilitating the purchase and carrying of firearms and ammunition. The IACHR also lauds the media campaigns, interactive online tools, and other mechanisms that provide the population with information on voter rights and duties, the functioning of the national electoral system, and participation in elections.

The IACHR acknowledges Brazil's solid democratic institutions, the separation and independence of its powers, and the proper functioning of its system of checks and balances. In addition to appreciating the efforts of the country's institutions, it calls on the State to deploy the necessary actions to prevent, eliminate, and sanction public acts or demonstrations of intolerance that result in disrespect or contempt for others who act or think differently in the context of the elections, and to do so in accordance with Inter-American human rights standards. It also recalls that political leaders play an essential role in preventing intolerance and violence when they use their position in the public eye to actively counteract discrimination and promote understanding based on the recognition of pluralism and diversity.

The IACHR stresses that diverse and inclusive participation is essential for the functioning of democracies and the guarantee of political rights. It therefore urges all institutions belonging to the three branches of government to ensure broad participation in the elections without discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and/or expression, age, ethnic-racial origin, or other such factors.

It is also crucial that judicial authorities understand their role as guarantors of the circulation of information of public interest that provides the population with tools on matters relating to participation in elections. Blocking or limiting access to online content or restrictions on the circulation of news articles may restrict voters' access to information and thus jeopardize the knowledge they need to participate and make decisions during the electoral process. In this sense, the judiciary must acknowledge that political discourse and matters of public interest enjoy special protection, which also implies their duty to reinforce the protection of the right of access to information.

Finally, the Inter-American Commission calls upon the State and society as a whole to hold peaceful elections and respect the outcomes of these as the highest expression of popular sovereignty, while adhering strictly to the principles of representative democracy and human rights, as established in the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to which Brazil is a party.

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. 219/22

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