Friday, 21 October 2011

Brazil: A truth commission, but a weak one

There have been a few stories floating around about Brazil's truth commission proposal, which is still awaiting a vote in the Senate, but most of them in the English media have been pretty perfunctory. However, this one from IPS is really worth reading. It opens by pointing out that,
For some the commission, or CNV, that was approved by a Senate committee on Wednesday Oct. 19 is a watered-down or weak version of what is really needed, while others see it as the best that can be achieved at this time.

The CNV will not have the power to punish those responsible for human rights violations committed during the 1964-1985 de facto regime, and its conclusions will not give rise to court cases.
Another important point is that
the CNV will cover the period from 1946 to 1988, despite pressure from human rights groups and the families of victims of the dictatorship, who want it to merely apply to the 21-year dictatorial regime, in order to avoid a dispersion of efforts. This huge length of time for a commission that does not even have its own budget is a lot to ask. The proceedings may also not be fully open. Some human rights activists have strongly criticised the plans.

I'm usually a "it's better than nothing" type person, and Brazil has been notable as one of the few countries on the subcontinent that has not had a TRC; nevertheless, this proposal as it stands does sound very weak.

Brazilians Get Ready to Dig Up the Truth (IPS)

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