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On 27 October, the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission delivered to the Federal Public Ministry its final report on the mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in more than 600,000 deaths and countless human rights violations. The Attorney General, who heads the Public Ministry, has until 26 November to decide whether to open an investigation based on the report. Due to the potential human rights impact of the actions and omissions identified by the Commission, we call on the Attorney General to instruct the Public Ministry to investigate these allegations.
Amnesty International has been closely following the unfolding of investigations being carried out at the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission and believes it is essential to hold those involved in the mishandling of the pandemic of Covid-19 to account. It is imperative to ensure accountability for the human rights violations committed in the context of the Brazilian government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has produced an unprecedented crisis in the country.
In October 2021, Brazil reached the record of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, the second highest in the world. Many of these deaths could have been avoided if authorities had put people’s lives at the center of its decisions. But instead, arguing economic and political concerns, they deliberately minimized the impact of the pandemic on specific groups, promoted treatments without scientific evidence, and failed to secure enough vaccines for its population and to ensure essential supplies
such as oxygen, as well as to protect groups who faced greater threats due to historic discrimination and inequality.
Write to the Attorney General urging him to:
- instruct the Federal Public Ministry to investigate the findings identified by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission report on the mishandling of the Covid-19 which has resulted in more than 600,000 deaths and countless human rights violations.
Mr. Augusto Aras, Attorney General
SAF Sul Quadra 4 Conjunto C
Salutation: Mr. Attorney General
His Excellency Pedro Henrique Lopes Borio
Ambassador for the Federative Republic of Brazil
450 Wilbrod Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6M8
Fax: 613 237 6144
Phone: 613 237 1090
Just over a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global health emergency, Brazil continues to beat records in terms of lethality. More than 600,000 people in Brazil had their lives interrupted by Covid-19 and by the disastrous management of public authorities in fighting the pandemic, a number that should only increase in the coming weeks. In addition to the perverse effects caused by the denialist discourse and the insistence on “early treatment”, the collapse of the health system and various obstacles placed on mass vaccination attest to the implication and responsibility of public authorities for the affliction that the population has been living and yet are seeing worsening.
This scenario becomes even more serious in a country like Brazil, marked by deep inequalities, systematic attacks on public services and on the set of constitutionally provided rights. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted historically discriminated groups, who in addition to suffering violations to their rights to life and health, have been living with the growing precariousness of their means and conditions of existence. The health crisis we face is, above all, a human rights crisis. It is the State’s duty to take effective measures so that these rights are guaranteed in an integral and equitable way to the entire population, but this duty has been deliberately neglected.
In response to the actions and omissions of the public administration in the disastrous management of the pandemic, the Federal Senate instituted in late April the Covid-19 Parliamentary Inquiry Commission. The Commission, although it has no power of trial, produced a final report indicating to the Attorney General which crimes possibly have been committed and who should be held accountable. Now, the Attorney General, Mr. Augusto Aras, has 30 days to decide to launch an investigation or not.
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