Bolsonaro referred to Hague tribunal for ecocide and crimes against humanity
- A Paris-based lawyer submitted a request for a preliminary tribunal on behalf of two prominent Indigenous leaders in Brazil, alleging environmental crimes and anti-Indigenous actions.
- Under Bolsonaro, the Indigenous affairs agency has been stripped of land-oversight powers, incursions and raids on reserved land have more than doubled in the last two years, and poor COVID–19 response has left Indigenous people, already disproportionately affected by the disease, especially vulnerable.
- On the environmental front, deforestation has accelerated to levels not seen in more than a decade, key environmental protections have been rolled back, and fines for environmental crimes have decreased by nearly 50%.
“Brazil’s Indigenous Leaders Sue President Jair Bolsonaro For Crimes Against Humanity” (The Huffington Post | January 2021)
“Jair Bolsonaro could face charges in The Hague over Amazon rainforest” (The Guardian | January 2021)
“Brazil’s collapsing health service, new COVID variant, raise Indigenous risk” (Mongabay | January 2021)
“Pushing the whole lot through”: The second year of environmental havoc under Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro (Observatório do Clima | January 2021)
Brazilian president strips indigenous affairs agency of land reservation capability
- President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree shifting the ability to create and define the boundaries of indigenous land reservations from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
- Bolsonaro previously announced intentions to loosen environmental and indigenous protections, even as farming and mining groups carry out armed attacks against indigenous communities.
- The order was the first of Bolsonaro’s presidency, issued only hours after taking office.
“Bolsonaro strips agency of right to decide native land in Brazil” (Agence-France Presse, via Yahoo! News | January 2019)
“Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro rolls back Indigenous tribe protections” (The Associated Press/Reuters, via ABC News | January 2019)
“Brazil’s FUNAI Calls Army to Help Protect Isolated Indigenous Tribes” (The Rio Times | December 2018)
Afro-Brazilian Women’s Mobilization Moment
The current global push for the redress of epidemic violence against women—from #NiUnaMenos to #MeToo—has long been of national concern in Brazil, with women sharing stories of sexual assault via #MeuPrimeiroAssedio (#MyFirstHarassment) and demonstrations for reproductive rights having sought to counter entrenched conservative religious interests. For Afro-Brazilian women, this is part of decades of mobilization that has attempted to draw attention to both material and ideological disparities threatening their security. High homicide and sexual violence rates, reproductive healthcare limitations, anti-black beauty standards, and lack of positive cultural representation have led activists to demand attention to institutions and cultural practices that they argue have marginalized their welfare. From mass demonstrations to digital organizing, black women have taken the lead in movements for both racial and gender justice, challenging Brazil’s deeply embedded ideology of colorblindness and calling instead for more research into and accountability for persistent economic and cultural disparities.
“Beyond #MeToo, Brazilian women rise up against racism and sexism” (The Conversation, via Salon | January 2018)
“Afro-Brazilian Feminists and the Fight for Racial and Gender Inclusion” (Black Perspectives | February 2017)
“Black Women March Against Violence in Brazil” (teleSUR | November 2015)
“Interview with Djamila Ribeiro: Fighting Racism and Sexism in Post-Coup Brazil” (The Council on Hemispheric Affairs | December 2017)
“Black Brazilian Feminists Say: ‘Autonomy is the Only Way.’” (For Harriet | July 2015)
“Brazil: Report Exposes High Rates of Rape Among Women, Girls” (teleSUR | January 2018)
“The campaigners challenging misogyny and sexism in Brazil” (The Guardian | December 2015)
Geledés Black Woman Institute
Black Women of Brazil
Panama announces plans to crack down on immigration from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua
- Panamanian officials have announced new restrictions on immigration from the three countries, including conducting financial checks and shortening the duration of tourist permits from 180 days to 90 days.
- Anti-immigration sentiment has grown over the last year, with Colombians and Venezuelans particularly targeted and maligned as connected to drug trafficking and other crime in the country.
- Around 250,000 have immigrated to Panama from the three countries since 2010.
“Panama to Crack Down on Immigration, Colombians and Venezuelans” (teleSUR | May 2017)
“Panama cuts stays for Colombians, Venezuelans, Nicaraguans” (The Associated Press via The Washington Post | May 2017)
“Panama to tighten immigration policy for Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua” (Reuters | May 2017)
The Uncertain Task of Defining Race in Brazilian Affirmative Action
The redress of racial injustice in Brazil, long stymied by the country’s reputation as a “racial democracy,” has gained increasing political attention thanks to the work of black activists across the nation. Brazil’s recent attempts to install socioeconomic and racial quotas in public university admissions have created a number of challenges as fraud and race-policing have pitted student against student in ensuring fair enforcement, particularly as verification committees decide race based on appearance rather than heritage. Foreign Policy and The Globe and Mail examine the volatile debates surrounding Brazil’s new affirmative action policies and the general uneasiness the country has experienced as it has begun to address the long history of discrimination against its black, brown, and indigenous citizens.
“Brazil’s New Problem With Blackness” (Foreign Policy | April 2017)
“Black or white? In Brazil, a panel will decide for you” (The Globe and Mail | January 2017)
(Image Credit: Tiago Mazza Chiaravalloti/NurPhoto, via Foreign Policy)
Severe drug shortages leave Venezuelans with epilepsy and their families struggling
- With 85 of every 100 drugs missing, Venezuela faces an acute shortage of pharmaceutical drugs needed to treat a range of otherwise manageable illnesses, including epilepsy, schizophrenia, HIV, and cancer.
- Families report traveling hundreds of miles to obtain necessary drugs, sourcing from abroad, and taking expired or inappropriate medication.
- President Nicolas Maduro has blamed the shortage on a right-wing plot to overthrow him and announced new counteractive investments, although little progress has been seen.
“Epileptics struggle amid drug shortages in Venezuela” (Reuters | March 2017)
“Venezuela Is Falling Apart” (The Atlantic | May 2016)
“‘You name it, we can’t treat it.’” (Caracas Chronicles | March 2016)
“Falta de medicinas descompensa a los pacientes psiquiátricos” (El Universal | August 2014)
(Image Credit: Carlos Garcia Rawlings/Reuters)
Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
- Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
- A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
- A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.
“Temer government set to overthrow Brazil’s environmental agenda” (Mongabay)
“Brazil’s plan to roll back environment laws draws fire: ‘The danger is real’” (The Guardian)
“Brazil budget cuts put uncontacted Amazon tribe at risk, say activists” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: Ricardo Stuckert/The Guardian)
The Patricia Galvao Institute launches database cataloging gender violence in Brazil
- Dossiê Feminicído (Femicide Dossier) debuted as a resource for women, educators, advocates, researchers, and others interested in learning more about femicide and other forms of gender-based violence in the country.
- The platform also provides information about resources, services, rights, and policy for and affecting women confronting violence in their communities.
- Recent data indicates an average of 13 women are killed in Brazil each day, making the country one of the most dangerous in the world for women.
“Brazilian Women Ramp up Fight Against Femicide with Open Data” (teleSUR English)
(Image Credit: Reuters, via teleSUR English)
#NiUnaMenos demonstrations brings tens of thousands out in Peru
- The campaign, which has ignited throughout Latin America, protests the high levels of gender-based violence women face, with a particular focus on women’s and girls’ vulnerability to femicide.
- Peru’s women’s minister indicated that 10 women are killed per month in the country, with an additional 20 attempted murders.
- A series of court rulings that gave reduced or lenient sentences to perpetrators of violence against women led to social media outcry, which has fueled the demonstrations that reportedly brought out more at least 50,000 in downtown Lima, including the President and First Lady.
“#NiUnaMenos: 50,000 protest violence against women in Lima” (Peru Reports)
“Women in Peru protest against rising tide of murder and sexual crime” (The Guardian)
“#NiUnaMenos: así fue la marcha contra la violencia a la mujer” (El Comercio, in Spanish)
(Image Credit: Omer Musa Targal/Getty Images, via The Guardian)
Argentina announces new plans to combat violence against women
- President Mauricio Macri announced the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Assistance, and Eradication of Violence Against Women, a plan to combat the cultural roots of gender-based violence and support women through measures including the creation of a network of shelters.
- The plan also includes the use of geolocation technology to ensure that aggressors are kept from physical proximity with their victims and a phone app that will allow threatened women to bypass dialing to access emergency safety services.
- The measures come in the wake of a national campaign to combat violence against women that brought thousands to the streets in demonstration.
“Plan to cut violence against women launched” (The Buenos Aires Herald)
“Cómo es el plan que presentó Mauricio Macri contra la violencia de género” (La Nacíon, in Spanish)
“Argentina announces new gender violence plan” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Getty Images via BBC)
Brazil sees sharp uptick in violence against its LGBT community
- Nearly 1,600 LGBT people have been murdered in the last four-and-a-half years according to one advocacy group.
- Despite Brazil’s reputation for tolerance, a growing evangelical population steadily amassing political power has led a conservative backlash to the country’s progressive legal integration and protection of sexual and gender minorities.
- The homicide spike follows a general uptick in violence in Brazil, which has seen a 15% increase in homicides over the last year as the country has slid into recession.
“Brazil Is Confronting an Epidemic of Anti-Gay Violence” (The New York Times)
“An LGBT Person Is Murdered Every 28 Hours In Brazil” (The Huffington Post)
“We Need to Talk About Anti-LGBT Violence in Brazil” (The Advocate)
(Image Credit: Lalo de Almeida/The New York Times)
Black Lives Matter Globally
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests
Gang rape of 16-year-old sparks protests in Brazil
- The case garnered international attention when a video went up on Twitter showing more than 30 men participating in the rape of the girl, apparently unconscious, in a Rio favela.
- The crime was exacerbated by a slow, victim-antagonistic police response and a flood of misogynistic messages on social media.
- Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in protest of high levels of gender-based violence in the country, with upwards of 10% of Brazilian women reporting cases of sexual violence along and a larger number of unreported cases.
“Brazil and Argentina unite in protest against culture of sexual violence” (The Guardian)
“Massive Protests in Brazil After a Girl Was Blamed for Being Gang-Raped in Rio” (VICE News)
“Gender violence protests in São Paulo” (The Buenos Aires Herald)
(Image Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images, via The Guardian)
Thousands protest violence against women in Buenos Aires
- The #NiUnaMenos (“Not one less”) campaign brought thousands into the streets of the Argentinian capital to call attention to high levels of violence Argentine women of all ages have been subjected to.
- The demonstration took place in the wake of the recent murders of three 12-year-old girls in separate incidents involving domestic as well as gang violence.
- According to one report, 275 women have been killed in gender-based homicides in the year since the last public demonstration, including 165 from domestic violence and 40 involving women who had previously reported attacks by men.
“Argentines Protest Violence Against Women” (The New York Times)
“NiUnaMenos: 275 femicidios entre una marcha y otra” (La Nación, in Spanish)
“60% of femicides committed by partners” (The Buenos Aires Herald)
“Ni una menos, en fotos: imágenes de la concentración en Buenos Aires” (La Nación)
(Image Credit: via La Nación)
Argentina establishes special council as criticism of poor indigenous relations intensifies
- Established by decree, the new council is designed to bring together indigenous and government leaders to tackle cultural and policy issues affecting indigenous communities.
- Activists have longed called for integration into decision-making processes affecting their communities, including enforcement of constitutional land, language, judicial, and development rights.
- A recent U.N. report called out the government’s record on land rights—including intimidation and judicial harassment—and called for increased indigenous representation in political and judicial bodies.
“Government Creates Special Council for Indigenous Affairs” (The Argentina Independent)
“Decreto 672/2016: Consejo Consultivo y Participativo de los Pueblos Indígenas de la República Argentina. Creación.” (Ministry of Justice & Human Rights, in Spanish)
“Argentina’s indigenous people face ‘appalling’ plight: U.N.” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
(Image Credit: Resistencia Qom, via The Argentina Independent)