Target: President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil
Goal: Commend decision to form torture investigation and prevention committee
The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, recently announced the formation of a national anti-torture commission, designed to curb the widespread use of torture endemic to many local police forces in Brazil. The committee will consist of eleven experts with the power to visit any civilian or military areas and investigate and document torture there. This is a huge step forward for human rights in Brazil, and we should commend this decision while urging President Rousseff’ to select skilled, impartial members for the team.
Torture has long been a problem in Brazil, even though the Brazillian Constitution explicitly forbids it and harsh penalties are levied upon those found guilty. While the committee does not have the power to directly intercede on the part of victims of torture, it can document the details of the torture itself, which will result in harsh punishments, including up to 22 years of jail time for public officials convicted of torture. Leading human rights experts expect that the threat of such imprisonment will encourage police to treat prisoners more humanely.
Results will only be achieved, however, if smart, resourceful, and diligent individuals are picked to lead the committee. In particular, there is nothing stopping President’s Rousseff from contacting members of the U.N. Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture for their recommendations of experts. This would ensure impartial membership for the Brazilian anti-torture committee.
Torture is among the most vile spectres of human-rights abuses still haunting Brazil. With this new committee on the prevention of torture, however, torture can be gradually eradicated from Brazil. Now is the time to write to President Rousseff, thanking her for this huge leap forward for human rights, and encouraging her to pick smart, resourceful, diligent individuals to head the committee.
Dear President Rousseff,
We would like to write in support of your announcement of a new committee on torture within Brazil. This committee will have the unilateral authority to investigate and document adverse conditions in any police or military facility in Brazil, along with the ability to interview prisoners who they believed were tortured. Torture has long been a problem in Brazil, but the formation of this committee will finally give the government the power it needs to fight back against it, and ensure the liberty of Brazilian citizens.
Such advances will only be possible if the men and women appointed to the committee are intelligent, resourceful, and diligent individuals, however. Thus, we write both in support of this measure, and in hope that you will make the correct decisions in your selection of committee members.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Roberto Stuckert Filho via Wikimedia Commons