IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures to Benny Briolly Rosa da Silva Santos, Transvestite Councilwoman of African Descent, in Brazil

July 13, 2022

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Washington, DC—On July 11, 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 34/22, through which it granted precautionary protection measures in favor of Benny Briolly Rosa da Silva Santos and members of her work team in Brazil, whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

According to the request, the beneficiary, a councilwoman of the municipality of Niterói, has allegedly received death threats because she identifies as a Black transvestite woman and because of her work as a human rights defender. She has also received hostile racist and transphobic messages since 2018, which intensified at the end of 2021. To date, the beneficiary does not have a police escort, no financial resources have been made available for her protection, nor has a risk analysis been carried out with a gender and race perspective, despite the fact that she was included in the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders in May 2021 and despite the Federal Court ruling of April 2022 instructing her security measures to be reinforced. It was also alleged that incidents entailing the monitoring and harassment of Rosa da Silva and her advisors took place in May 2022.

According to the State, Benny Briolly Rosa da Silva was included in the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, and protection measures have allegedly been put in place for her through the Civil and Military Police. It also reported that the Federal Judiciary of Rio de Janeiro has issued a decision ordering that she be assigned a police escort and other security measures. It noted that between February and March 2022, meetings with civil society were held to reinforce and coordinate the protection measures adopted.

After analyzing the factual and legal allegations put forward by the two parties, the IACHR deems the beneficiary to be at risk due to a series of death threats that she has received, which included explicit mentions of intentions of aggression and even murder, while also having a strong racist and transphobic tone. The IACHR deems that the risk to which Benny Briolly Rosa da Silva Santos and her team of advisors are exposed has increased and that the protection measures adopted by the authorities to date will not effectively mitigate this.

Consequently, the IACHR deems that the information in question proves, prima facie, that the beneficiaries' rights to life, and personal integrity are at grave and urgent risk of suffering irreparable damage. It thus requested that Brazil: a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of Ms. Benny Briolly Rosa da Silva Santos and three members of her work team, taking the ethnic-racial and gender approaches into account; b) agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and c) report on any actions it implements to investigate the events that led to the adoption of this precautionary measure, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

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. 159/22

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