Brazil: Social rights under siegeDecember 8th, 2016
|To access the El País oped in Portuguese,
click on the screengrab above. To access it in English, click here.
|CESR Brazil webpage|
The amendment is likely to have serious and long-term impacts on already disadvantaged groups, such as women, afro-Brazilians and people living in poverty, who rely more on public services. As argued in an analysis document issued jointly by CESR and our Brazilian partners CONECTAS, Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos (INESC) and Oxfam Brasil, this constitutional reform may also stand in violation of Brazil’s obligations under international human rights law, as confirmed by recent warnings from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights.
Moreover, the International Monetary Fund and respected economists agree that such ill-conceived austerity measures tend to exacerbate, rather than remedy, economic crises and as such they are dangerously counterproductive. As illustrated in a joint op-ed article published in El País by CESR and its partners, alternative means to alleviate fiscal pressures are readily available to the Brazilian government, including combating tax evasion and the pursuit of more progressive taxation.
In this worrying context, CESR, CONECTAS and INESC have issued joint letters to the Brazilian authorities, calling on them not to approve PEC 55 or any proposed fiscal expenditure cap or austerity measure which would breach Brazil’s human rights obligations. These include the duty to devote the maximum of its available resources to progressively achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights, and to fully explore alternatives, including progressive tax measures, that can tackle the economic crisis whilst also protecting human rights. Following our joint advocacy, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights also intervened with a strongly-worded statement.
As the people of Brazil look to an uncertain future, CESR and its allies will continue to work for more just and human rights-compliant solutions to the ongoing economic crisis.
- Joint analysis document: Human rights implications of proposed Constitutional Amendment to limit public spending for two decades (Portuguese)
- El País op-ed: PEC 55: um salto no escuro (Portuguese). For English translation, click here
- CESR Brazil webpage
- Human Rights in Tax Policy
- Fiscal Policy and Human Rights in the Americas