Language Switcher

Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, mission to Brazil, A/HRC/4/37/Add.2, December 19, 2006

5. It is generally acknowledged that the struggle against military dictatorship greatly contributed to building awareness of civil and political rights and to forming strong national networks of non-governmental organizations (NGOs). During that period, members of the Catholic Church, political organizations, the academic community and intellectuals also created centres for human rights education and developed pastoral social initiatives in defence of human rights. Civil society organizations working on human rights continued to grow in the 1990s. Initially, most organizations concentrated their efforts on reporting violations of civil and political rights. However, they gradually expanded the scope of their mandate and have now adopted an inclusive approach to the defence of human rights, focusing in particular on economic, social, environmental and cultural rights and on discrimination based on race, sexual orientation and gender.

10. During her visit, the Special Representative had the opportunity to examine the situation of defenders involved in social movements, such as those for the rights of landless rural workers, peasants, indigenous communities and people of African descent, sexual minorities, the homeless, and people affected by dams.

32. Activists advocating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons have also been targets of threats. In most cases these threats emanate from non-State entities. For instance, the Directors of Coturno de Venus, a lesbian feminist association in Brasilia, reported receiving death threats from a neo-fascist organization in September 2005 because of their activities on the occasion of the celebration of the day for lesbians in August 2005. In another instance, Claudio Alves dos Santos, an activist for the rights of homosexuals who worked for the Referral Centre against Homosexual Violence and Discrimination in Rio de Janeiro, was killed after being severely beaten and tortured in October 2005.

link to full text of Report: