During a virtual hearing convened by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) this Thursday morning (1) to assess the protection of human rights in Brazil, the Bolsonaro government evaded criticism and claimed to have built a large network of social support during the pandemic.
In the midst of the unfolding of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (ICC) which is investigating the omissions of the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) in tackling the health crisis and allegations of bribery in the negotiation of vaccination agents, representatives of the Brazilian government, in a half-hour speech, they affirmed that emergency aid was an asset of the country and that the state had been quick to put it implemented.
Little has been said about the vaccination campaign. The surveillance secretary of the Ministry of Health, Arnaldo Medeiros, said that since March 2020, when the WHO (World Health Organization) declared a pandemic state, the government has structured a series of measures. “The ministry has developed a national plan for the operationalization of vaccination and offered the free vaccine against Covid-19 to the entire population,” he said. “We stand by our mission to save lives.”
Cadastro Único’s national secretary, Nilza Emy Yamasaki, argued that the federal administration was quick to present an effective response and strengthen social policies. “Less than two months after the declaration of the state of emergency, the conditions were made possible and emergency aid was instituted.
The government declared a state of emergency to contain the virus in February 2020. The first emergency aid, R $ 600, was sanctioned by the presidency in April and lasted until December. In April 2021, the government resumed four rounds of aid – but with a lower value, from R $ 150 to R $ 375. Paulo Guedes, Minister of the Economy, signaled the possibility of extending the allowance by three months.
Members of civil society who also attended the hearing questioned the image presented.
The social and economic justice coordinator at Oxfam Brasil, Jefferson Nascimento, recalled that the government had not used the 28.9 billion reais authorized for aid, a figure disclosed in April by the Institute of Socioeconomic Studies. . “For three months of 2021 [janeiro, fevereiro e março] there was no help; now the benefit is about to expire, and we have no information. “
Joel Hernández, IACHR rapporteur for Brazil, expressed concern about the number of cases and deaths. Until Thursday, the country has 518,246 victims of Covid-19. “The numbers in Brazil are alarming,” he said. “We have seen a peak in the pandemic in other countries, but the graph in Brazil is never showing a decline.”
Also present at the hearing, the Article 19 organization demanded that a special mission of the IACHR, linked to the OAS (Organization of American States), go to Brazil to verify government practices related to disinformation and restriction of press freedom and access to information. .
“We have seen disinformation being used as a government practice,” said Ana Gabriela Ferreira, access to information coordinator at Artigo 19. “Government authorities are directly involved in the deletion of data, in the dissemination of information. misinformation and intimidation of communicators, “finished.
The hearing was part of the 180th period of public hearings of the IACHR, held periodically to monitor the human rights situation in the Americas. It is common for civil society organizations to come together to demand this kind of space – this time, however, the initiative came from the commission itself.
According to the lawyer for Folha Melisanda Trentin, coordinator of the Dhesca platform, the IACHR should produce a report and urge the Brazilian state to adopt effective measures to deal with Covid-19 in terms of human rights. Civil society organizations would be responsible for monitoring the progress of the recommendations. Justice Global, the Black Coalition for Rights and Repam (Rede Ecclesial Pan-Amazônica) also participated in the hearing.