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U.S. Statement at the UPR of Brazil
May 25, 2012

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
13th Working Group Session
UPR Intervention for Brazil
Statement delivered by John Mariz
May 25, 2012

(as drafted)

The United States warmly welcomes Special Secretary Maria do Rosario and the Brazilian delegation to the UPR Working Group.

We commend Brazil for demonstrating commitment to the UPR process by accepting and implementing critical recommendations made in the first round, and making two voluntary commitments.   We are encouraged by the establishment of the Truth Commission to investigate human rights violations that occurred between 1946 and 1984, the passage of a strong Access to Information Law, and other important efforts to improve human rights conditions.

We remain concerned about the condition of Brazil’s prisons, including high rates of homicide, inhumane conditions for prisoners, and allegations of torture discussed in the national report.  The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions has stated an urgent need for effective measures to combat extrajudicial executions, torture, and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.  We acknowledge the positive steps taken by Brazil on these issues; however, serious human rights violations persist.  We urge Brazil to continue its efforts to improve prison conditions and increase efforts to combat torture, human trafficking, summary execution, abuse of power, and corruption involving law enforcement and prison personnel.

Victims of human trafficking and forced labor are disproportionately women, children, minorities, and indigenous people.  We welcome Brazil’s efforts to combat forced labor and pursue cases in trafficking in persons; however, prosecution rates are still very low in proportion to the significant number of Brazilian trafficking victims identified each year and additional funding is needed to provide necessary services to trafficking victims.

Bearing in mind these concerns, we would like to make the following recommendations:

  1. Reduce prison overcrowding and pre-trial detention periods by enforcing the 2011 Law on Precautionary Measures;
  2. Combat impunity on crimes against judges by creating a protection system for judges under threat; and
  3. Step up prosecution of individuals who traffic in persons and increase funding for specialized services, including shelters, for trafficking victims.