the expression "human rights" is much more accepted
than it was 30 years ago. We have gone from defending the
rights of political prisoners during the dictatorship to the
much more inclusive and veritable concept of "all rights
for everyone," thus reclaiming the vision of Bartolomé
de las Casas almost 500 years ago.
following report makes this evident. It speaks of agrarian
reform, but does not forget the memory of those disappeared at
Araguaia during the military regime. It analyzes the rights of
grassroots communities, such as the coconut workers (quebradeiras
de coco), as well as the impact of international policies
on human rights.
is the fourth report published annually by the Social Network
of Justice and Human Rights. It strengthens our hope to verify
the consistency and the persistence of the network in carrying
out studies and research.
annual release of this portrait of the human rights situation
in Brazil rings out like a shout of repudiation and shows that
we do not accept what many treat as fate. The authors go
beyond a mere description, a simple portrait. They look to
show the roots of these flagrant violations, making clear that
they are not only a result of the moral slips and excesses of
some people, but there are structural causes.
we have overcome the idea that poverty is a result of human
fate and that there are not sufficient resources to feed all
of humanity. However, neoliberalism still foments the notion
that there are no alternatives to this economic model.
are witness to an international farce. On one hand, the
Brazilian government’s intention to eliminate hunger is
applauded in meetings with the G8 (the group of the world’s
most industrialized countries). At the same time, these
countries control the main international financial
institutions responsible for economic policies that intensify
hunger and poverty in the world.
serious still is the fact that these international
organizations, which develop economic prescriptions for
marginalized countries, cannot be judged or judicially made
responsible for the consequences of these policies. They
themselves oversee the application of their own prescriptions.
even do they suffer from the consequences of their policies,
as it happened in colonial times: if the colonizer committed
an error in relation to its colony, it would suffer the
repercussions. Today, the "colonizers" in the
international financial system always win: they profit from
the war in Iraq, they profit if the price of oil rises, they
profit if it falls; they profit when Argentina goes into
report shows that the main victims of human rights violations
are in the excluded or less privileged sectors of our society.
reading of this Brazilian reality also suggests possible
solutions or paths to break away from this pattern. It
strengthens our hope that a new world is possible. It
stimulates the development of activists, preparing the
subsequent moment of reaction and recovery in the struggle of
diverse coalition that has contributed to this report
demonstrates that we are not isolated. It is very difficult to
stand firm when we are alone. However, this work summons us to
participate in the struggles to transform our society.
Paulo, October 12, 2004
Xerri João, OP
of the International Dominican Commission of Justice and Peace
in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Domingos Solidarity Group