Civil society organisations send letter to OECD warning of recent setbacks in Brazil

18 abril 2022

​The NGOs claim that the process of joining the institution should be seen as an opportunity to correct directions

By Anistia Internacional Brasil, Human Rights Watch, Transparência Internacional - Brasil e WWF-Brasil

In a letter sent last week to Mathias Cormann, the Secretary General of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), Amnesty International Brazil, Human Rights Watch, Transparency International-Brazil and WWF-Brazil warned of recent setbacks on human rights, environment, transparency, fight against corruption and strengthening of democracy, which were intensified under President Jair Bolsonaro. 

The document highlights the concern of the organisations that the invitation for Brazil to start formal discussions in order to join the institution, received in January, conveys the wrong message that the OECD is not aware of the dismantling of environmental and anti-corruption policies and bodies in Brazil, in addition to the systematic attacks against human rights. 

Mauricio Voivodic, executive-director at WWF-Brazil, states that "in the face of the environmental dismantling in Brazil - legislative setbacks, inspection paralysis and budget reduction - all initiatives aimed at stopping the escalation of destruction are worth. This letter is yet another effort to put the country on a path that is consistent with science and with countries that are concerned with a sustainable and climatically fair future".

For Jurema Werneck, executive-director at Amnesty International Brazil, “the population is having their rights violated day after day. The process of Brazil's entry into the OECD can be relevant for national States, through their representatives, to help the country resuming its commitments and duties concerning human rights". 

The letter recognizes that Brazil's inclusion in multilateral bodies can be positive for the country, as it encourages the adoption of good practices in several areas of public policy and the strengthening of the rule of law. It stresses, however, the need for a broad and effective participation of civil society in the construction of the roadmap - which guides the process of accession of a country to the organisation -, in the independent assessment of compliance with the policies recommended by the OECD, and in the formulation of action plans for possible accession.

“It is essential to guarantee maximum transparency and social participation in Brazil's accession process to the OECD, so that serious situations in the country are independently evaluated, ensuring that the public interest prevails over the government's interest in a political trophy." says Bruno Brandão, executive-director at Transparency International-Brazil. 

In the letter, the organisations request a meeting with the OECD Secretary-General, in order to discuss transparency measures and alternatives for a deeper participation of civil society in this process towards a model of sustainable and socially fair development.