Human Rights Watch says Bolsonaro a threat to democracy in Brazil – report

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro attends the presidential changing of the guard ceremony, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil December 16, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo/File Photo

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BRASILIA, Jan 13 (Reuters) – This year’s general elections in Brazil will be a test for the country’s democracy due to threats from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro who questioned the validity of his electoral system, said Human Rights Watch Thursday.

In an annual report on rights abuses around the world, the Washington-based group urged Brazil’s Supreme Court, Congress and other democratic institutions to remain vigilant and resist any attempt by Bolsonaro to undermine Israel’s elections. October.

“President Bolsonaro has tried to weaken the pillars of democracy, attacking the justice system and repeating baseless allegations of electoral fraud,” said Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director at Human Rights Watch.

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His government has promoted policies that violate human rights in various areas, including the rights of indigenous peoples, women’s rights, the rights of persons with disabilities and freedom of expression, according to the report.

Bolsonaro has promoted bills to deny the rights of many indigenous peoples to their traditional lands and, in practice, legalized illegal mining in those territories.

Under his administration, deforestation in the Amazon has reached its highest level since 2006, the government’s own data shows, Human Rights Watch said.

The president’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the rights report. Bolsonaro plans to seek re-election in October, although he has not officially declared his candidacy.

HRW said Bolsonaro continued to spread false information about COVID-19 vaccines after a Senate investigation found his government had endangered the health of Brazilians by ignoring science-based measures to contain the virus. and by promoting drugs without proven efficacy.

Bolsonaro has also encouraged police violence and championed a bill that makes it harder to hold officers accountable for abuse, he added.

Police lethality hit a record high in 2020 in Brazil, with the highest number of deaths resulting from police action since the indicator began being monitored, the report said, adding that 80% of victims were black.

His government has also pursued criminal investigations against political critics, including with the use of the National Security Law of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship which it defends, he added.

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Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Bernadette Baum

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