Brazil: Support Passing Of Antidiscriminatory Legislation By The Federal Congress

Brazilian GLT Association (ABGLT) is asking individuals and organizations all around the world to send letters asking members of the Federal Congress to vote in favor of antidiscriminatory bill that defines (and criminalizes) crimes resulting from discrimination or prejudice against race, color, ethnic origin, religion, origin within Brazil, gender, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.

IGLHRC joins ABGLT to ask for individually addressed emails or faxes to be sent BETWEEN NOW AND MAY 17th to the following MPs at the Brazilian Federal Congress. Please take one or both of the two possible actions outlined below:

Action # 1

A suggestion of a standard letter in English, written by ABGLT, follows below (please feel free to send similar letters in other languages if English is not your native language).

Contacts:

Party Leaders (Whips)

Deputado Waldemir Moka
Líder/Representante do PMDB
E-mails: lid.pmdb@camara.gov.br
dep.waldemirmoka@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2448
Deputado Henrique Fontana
Líder do PT
E-mails: lid.pt@camara.gov.br
dep.henriquefontana@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2277
Deputado Rodrigo Maia
Líder do PFL
E-mails: lid.pfl@camara.gov.br
dep.rodrigomaia@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2308
Deputado Jutahy Júnior
Líder do PSDB
E-mails: lid.psdb@camara.gov.br
dep.jutahyjunior@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2407
Deputado Mário Montenegro
Líder do PP
E-mails: lid.pp@camara.gov.br
dep.marionegromonte@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2345
Deputado José Múcio Monteiro
Líder do PTB
E-mails: lid.ptb@camara.gov.br
dep.josemuciomonteiro@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2458
Deputado Luciano Castro
Líder do PL
E-mails: lid.pl@camara.gov.br
dep.lucianocastro@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2401
Deputado Paulo Baltazar
Líder do PSB
E-mails: lid.psb@camara.gov.br
dep.paulobaltazar@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2515
Deputado Miro Teixeira
Líder do PDT
E-mails: lid.pdt@camara.gov.br
dep.miroteixeira@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2272
Deputado Fernando Coruja
Líder do PPS
E-mails: lid.pps@camara.gov.br
dep.fernandocoruja@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2245
Deputado Inácio Arruda
Líder do PCdoB
E-mails: lid.pcdob@camara.gov.br
dep.inacioarruda@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2582
Deputado Sarney Filho
Líder do PV
E-mails: lid.pv@camara.gov.br
dep.sarneyfilho@camara.gov.br
Fax: Fax: +55 61 3215 2202
Deputado Ivan Valente
Líder do PSOL
E-mails: lid.psol@camara.gov.br
dep.ivanvalente@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2716

Lower House President’s Office

Deputado Aldo Rebelo
Presidente da Câmara dos Deputados
dep.aldorebelo@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215-2371
Deputado José Thomaz Nonô
1º Vice-Presidente da Câmara dos Deputados
dep.josethomaznono@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215-2812
Deputado Ciro Nogueira
2º Vice-Presidente da Câmara dos Deputados
dep.cironogueira@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215-2619

President of the (Lower House) Human Rights Commission

Deputado Luiz Eduardo Greenhalgh
Presidente da Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Minorias
E-mail: dep.luizeduardogreenhalgh@camara.gov.br
Fax:+55 61 3215-2466

Proponent of the Bill (send copies of your e-mails/faxes):

Deputada Iara Bernardi
E-mail: dep.iarabernardi@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2360

Supporter of the Bill (send copies of your e-mails/faxes):

Deputado Luciano Zica
E-mail: dep.lucianozica@camara.gov.br
Fax: + 55 61 3215 2627

Other MPs – opinion makers

Deputado Antonio Carlos Magalhães Neto
E-mail: dep.antoniocarlosmagalhaesneto@camara.gov.br
Fax: +55 61 3215 2939
General Secretary ABGLT (Toni Reis)
E-mail: secgeral@abglt.org.br
Fax: +55 41 3232 9829

Action # 2

In addition, a standard letter in Portuguese can be sent to all 513 MPs, by following the steps below:www.abglt.org.br
Left menu: click on e-campanhas
Go to the bottom of the page, Campanhas Atuais, 01. E-campanha pela aprovação de leis favoráveis a GLBT. click on “participe”.

Fill in the following fields:

Nome (name)
RG (ID document number)
E-mail
Cidade (City/Town)
Estado (State – please add Country, if appropriate)
Organização a qual pertence (organization to which you belong)

The standard letter can be “topped and tailed” as required.

To send the letter, click on Enviar

Sample letter

Dear _____

Re.: Antidiscrimination Bill - P/L 5003/2001

(Describe your organization and its objectives).

As such we are very much aware of the importance that the approval of Projeto de Lei 5003/2001 will represent for the equality of human rights of large segments of Brazilian society currently legally unprotected against discrimination due to their ethnic or social origins, religious convictions, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The approval of this Bill will demonstrate Brazil’s effective commitment to international human rights agreements to which it is signatory, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other more recent international treaties and pacts relating to discrimination and equal rights.

Discrimination is one of the principal causes of social and personal vulnerability, which may lead to social exclusion, impoverishment, disease and crime, among other factors prejudicial to a state in which the guarantee of democratic principals is of sovereign importance.

Certain of your commitment to human rights issues, we strongly urge you to vote in favor of Projeto de Lei 5003/2001, and also request that you encourage other MPs from your political party to vote in favor, in the sure and certain knowledge that in so doing you will be actively contributing towards a fairer and more egalitarian society.

Yours sincerely

Background

The original bill was drafted in 2001 and was specific to sexual orientation. As it traveled through the various commissions on its way toward being voted upon, similar anti-discrimination bills were incorporated so that its final wording includes other forms of discrimination as well. This is seen as positive because it makes it more difficult for conservative and religious-based MPs to reject the bill specifically because of its dealing with sexual orientation and gender identity.

In January 2006 the president of the lower house of the Congress, Dep. Aldo Rebelo, received a group of LGBT activists and members of the Parliamentary Front for Free Sexual Expression and committed him to putting the bill on the agenda for voting, as long as the signatures of the majority of party leaders (whips) in support of this request were obtained.

On March 21st and 22nd, the bill’s proponent, Deputada Iara Bernardi (Workers Party – PT) and a small group of activists managed to obtain the signatures of 9 of the principal party leaders. On April 5th, a public act was held in the Congress involving speeches by about 20 MPs and testimonies given by LGBT who have suffered violence and/or discrimination due to their sexual orientation. Following this, a group of 20 activists and MPs was received by the President of the lower house, who agreed to put the bill on the voting agenda between now and May 17th.

International legislation

Antidiscriminatory legislation at the federal level, explicitly mentioning “sexual orientation” exists already in some countries in the region, including Mexico, Uruguay and Peru. In Ecuador such discrimination is forbidden by the Constitution. Around the world, countries like South Africa, Canada and Switzerland also include anti-discriminatory provision explicitly mentioning sexual orientation in their Constitutions, while others like Spain, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Ireland, Iceland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Finland and Denmark have enacted laws specific to such effect.

The right to be free from discrimination and to equality before the law is protected by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR - Articles 2 and 7), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR -Articles 2 and 26), and the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights IAHRC (Articles 1 and 24).

The United Nations Human Rights Committee affirmed in its decision in Toonen v Australia (1994) that existing protections against discrimination in Articles 2 and 26 of the ICCPR should be understood to include sexual orientation as a protected status. Numerous other human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have subsequently condemned discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The Right to Effective Remedy/Compensation for acts violating the fundamental rights of a person is protected by the UDHR (Article 8) and the IAHRC (Article 10).

Brazil ratified ICCPR on January 24, 1992, and the IACHR on September 25 of the same year. The UDHR is considered part of customary international law, and binding on all member States of the United Nations, like Brazil.