Brazil: São Paulo Pride Parade In Danger

The government of São Paulo city is using different bureaucratic excuses to deny support to the biggest Gay Pride Parade in the world (1.5 million participants in 2005) incuding attempting to change the date that organizers had set for the Parade. There is a danger that the Parade might not happen this year. Read the details below and please circulate this appeal as widely as you can.

IGLHRC joins Associação da Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo (APOGLBT)--the Parade organizers--to ask for URGENT letters of support addressed to the São Paulo authorities. You will find below a sample letter written by APOGLBT in Portuguese, as well as its English translation.

Please write today to:

José Serra
Prefeito (MaYor)
gabinetedoprefeito@prefeitura.sp.gov.br
Antonio Carlos Bernardo
Assessor do Prefeito (Advisor to the Mayor)
acbernardo@prefeitura.sp.gov.br
Gilberto Tanos Natalini
Secretário
Secretaria de Participação e Parceria (Secretary of Participation and Partnership)
natalini@prefeitura.sp.gov.br
Humberto Rodrigues da Silva
Chefe de Gabinete da Secretaria de Governo (Chief of Cabinet, Governement Secretary)
hrdsilva@prefeitura.sp.gov.br
Cássio Rodrigo de Oliveira Silva
Coordenador
Coordenadoria de Assuntos da Diversidade Sexual (Sexual Diversity Issues Coordinating Office)
crosilva@prefeitura.sp.gov.br

Please send a copy to the Parade Organizers

(Diretoria da APOGLBT SP)
paradasp@paradasp.org.br

SAMPLE LETTER

Prefeitura do Município de São Paulo
A/C Sr. Prefeito
C/C Secretaria de Governo Municipal
C/C Secretaria Especial de Participação e Parceria
C/C Coordenadoria de Assuntos da Diversidade Sexual

Vimos por meio desta nos manifestar em favor do apoio da Prefeitura do Município de São Paulo à realização da X Parada do Orgulho GLBT de São Paulo, no dia 17 de junho de 2006, na Av. Paulista.

A Parada de São Paulo é, como todos sabemos, atualmente a maior manifestação política em prol dos direitos de gays, lésbicas, bissexuais, travestis e transexuais do planeta e uma importante data no calendário do movimento GLBTT nacional e internacional, uma vez que visibiliza a população GLBTT e suas demandas e possibilita a formação de todo um campo social de apoio aos direitos de homossexuais, bissexuais e pessoas trans e ao respeito à diversidade sexual.

Considerando a importância dessa manifestação para nossa comunidade e o direito constitucional de reunião e manifestação pública que cabe aos movimentos sociais, bem como o empenho que esta administração tem mostrado no sentido de apoiar a população GLBTT, solicitamos o apoio desta administração municipal para que a edição dos 10 anos da Parada do Orgulho GLBT, que levará às ruas mais de 2 milhões de pessoas em torno da demanda por legislação de criminalização e políticas de controle da homofobia, ocorra com as melhores condições de segurança e infra-estrutura.

Salientamos a urgência do posicionamento oficial da Prefeitura de São Paulo, tendo em vista o porte e a proximidade da data da manifestação.

Atenciosamente,

(Name, organization, address)


ENGLISH VERSION

We are writing to ask the Government of São Paulo City to support the 10th São Paulo GLBT Pride Parade so that it can take place on June 17th, 2006, along Paulista Avenue.

The São Paulo Parade is currently the largest political manifestation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights in the world, and an important date in the calendar of GLBT movements, both national and international. It renders the GLBT population and its demands visible and allows for the creation of a social support network for the rights of homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people and for respect of sexual diversity as a social value.

Taking into account the importance of such manifestation for our community and the constitutional right to peaceful assembly and expression that pertains to social movements, as well as the commitment to support GLBT people that your Administration has already shown, we request that you support the realization of the 10th GLBT Pride Parade--that will bring together 2 million participants to demand legislation and policies that challenge homophobia--in the best possible conditions of safety and infrastructure.

We urge the São Paulo City government to make a public statement on this issue as soon as possible, taking into account the size and the importance of the event.

Yours truly,

BACKGROUND

You will find below a summarized translation of the letter sent by APOGLBT SP asking for national and international solidarity:

“In September 2005 we requested a meeting with the city Mayor to present him with the proposal for the 10th Parade and request his support. Since then, we have also been in touch with the Coordinating Office for Sexual Diversity Issues (CADS, in Portuguese), developing the proposal and the working group in which the public organisms key to providing the Parade with the infrastructure required for safety and accessibility also participate.

In January 06, after learning that Brazil will compete in the World Cup Soccer tournament on the date and time previously established for the Parade (June 18), we requested an urgent meeting with CADS and the Special Secretary for Participation and Partnership (SEPP, in Portuguese) to communicate our intention to negotiate with the lesbian movement and hold both – the Lesbian Walk (originally scheduled for June 17) and the Parade on June 17. CADS agreed to support this idea in the presence of the Mayor’s office. We talked to the Brazilian Lesbian League- SP, which is organizing the Lesbian Walk, came to an agreement with them, communicated our decision to CADS, and then called for a meeting with the Working Group of the SEPP.

At the first meeting of the Working Group (WG), a representative from SP Turis (a private company dealing with tourism in the city) said that there was a memo from the Attorney State Office forbidding large-sized events to take place along Paulista Avenue. He also wanted the WG to make the decision regarding the date for the Parade. The WG’s mandate is only to produce the final proposal and negotiate with different state organisms for their support of the event. This proposal by SP Turis disempowered the WP.

At the next meeting, with a very reduced attendance, SP Turis and the organism dealing with traffic in the city (CET, in Portuguese) raised again the issue of the Parade’s date and place. We called the Federal Attorney Office and also requested a meeting with the Mayor’s Office. We were called for a meeting at SEPP, in which we were asked what we would do if the Parade was not allowed to happen along Paulista Avenue and/or in the date we had decided for it. We replied that we are the organizers but the event itself belongs to the movement and what we do does not depend on our will alone.

A few days later, we were called for a meeting with an advisor to the Mayor. Mr. Suiama, from the Federal Attorney’s Office came with us to the meeting. The advisor said it was understandable that we would not want to have the Parade on the same date that Brazil is playing for the World Cup. In that meeting, he committed to have the Mayor’s office issue an official statement on March 6.

Up to the writing of this document on March 14, we still have no answer, just a memo from CADS saying they are interested in supporting the Parade but not on the date and place that the organizers want to hold it. They continue to argue on the basis of the State Attorney’s Office memo --a document that has never been shown to us, in spite of our repeated requests to see it. In the middle of all this disinformation and lack of interest on the part of the Mayor‘s office to move us all out of this impasse, our attitude has been to claim our constitutional right, as a social movement, to peaceful assembly in public places. Social movements have the obligation to communicate beforehand to competent bodies that they are organizing an event, and public bodies have the obligation to guarantee that the event can take place in safety and without any major discomfort for those taking part on it, as well as for other citizens.

This situation has also damaged the possibility to mobilize resources for the Parade--always a challenge, but this year has become impossible. Thus, there is a risk that the Parade will not happen this year.

INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONA LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The right to peaceful assembly and association is protected by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (Article 20), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR- Article 21) and the Interamerican Human Rights Convention (IHRC- Article 16). Brazil ratified ICCPR on January 24, 1992 and the IHRC on September of the same year. The Universal Declaration is considered part of customary international law, and binding on all member States of the United Nations, like Brazil.

Article 5, paragraph 16 of the Brazilian Constitution says:

“Everyone can meet peacefully, without arms, in public places, regardless of authorization, provided that by doing so they do not frustrate another meeting previously called on that same place, the only requirement being previous notice to competent authorities”.