December 12, 2019.- Five Brazilian organizations sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) special procedures and the rapporteurs of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) today seeking immediate action in relation to the criminalization and discrediting of non-governmental organization “Projeto Saúde e Alegria (PSA)”, as well as for the arrests of Daniel Gutierrez Govino, João Victor Pereira Romano, Gustavo de Almeida Fernandes and Marcelo Aron Cwerner, members of the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade.
ARTICLE 19, the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Conectas Human Rights, Justiça Global and Terra de Direitos requested support from international mechanisms to stop acts of repressive escalation that endanger fundamental rights and the very functioning of civil society organizations.
According to the document sent to the UN and the IACHR, “Since the 2018 presidential elections, Brazilian civil society organizations have been suffering systematic attacks in a process of demoralization and criminalization that endangers fundamental rights to association, freedom of expression and presumption of innocence.”
The recent arrest of fire brigade members from the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade and the search and seizure measures decreed against PSA are clear examples of this deteriorating context. The appeal emphasizes that in the absence of information or proof linking these entities to the fires, it is "evident that the investigation is an attempt to criminalize people and organizations that notably act in preserving the environment in the Brazilian Amazon."
With this appeal, the UN and IACHR can now issue human rights-based recommendations to Brazilian authorities. The organizations requested, among other measures, that special rapporteurs both entities request information from Brazil and monitor ongoing investigations and criminal proceedings. Furthermore, the organizations ask the State to refrain from using stigmatizing and criminalizing statements that violate the right of the accused to the presumption of innocence and dignity, until all investigations and criminal processes are finalized.
Versao em portugues do comunicado de imprensa