BRASILIA (Reuters) – This year’s general elections in Brazil will be a test of the country’s democracy due to threats from President Jair Bolsonaro, who questioned the validity of the country’s voting system, human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch said. this Thursday.
In its annual report on human rights abuses around the world, the Washington-based group called on the Federal Supreme Court (STF), the National Congress and other democratic institutions in Brazil to remain vigilant and resist any attempt to Bolsonaro from undermining the October elections.
“President Bolsonaro has tried to weaken the pillars of democracy by attacking the judiciary and repeating baseless allegations of electoral fraud,” said Maria Laura Canineu, director of Human Rights Watch in Brazil.
The Bolsonaro administration has promoted anti-human rights policies in a number of areas, including indigenous peoples’ rights, women’s rights, the rights of people with disabilities and freedom of expression, the report said.
The president’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the report. Bolsonaro plans to seek re-election in October, although he has not formally declared his candidacy.
Police lethality reached a record in 2020 in Brazil, with the highest number of deaths resulting from police action since the indicator began to be monitored, and about 80% of victims were black, HRW said.
Bolsonaro has encouraged police violence and advocates a bill to make it difficult for police officers to be held accountable for abuses, the organization added.
His government promoted criminal investigations against critics, including using the National Security Law, from the time of the military dictatorship that ruled the country between 1964 and 1985 and which Bolsonaro defends, the report said.
Bolsonaro has promoted bills to deny the right of many indigenous peoples to their traditional lands and, in practice, legalize illegal mining in these territories.
During his tenure, deforestation in the Amazon rose to the highest level since 2006, as shown by the government’s own data, Human Rights Watch recalled.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle)
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