August 2023 | 45 people killed in the context of police operations in Brazil
A police operation carried out in multiple regions of the country, reportedly in response to a police officer’s murder, resulted in at least 45 people killed. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed its concern over the operation and the rise in the number of killings by police of men of African descent.
Local activists denounced the operation as a retaliatory massacre. Among those living where raids took place, there have been complaints of threats and intimidation by police and acts of torture.
June 2023 | Former President Bolsonaro banned from public office for 8 years
The Supreme Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Supremo Eleitoral) resolved, in a five to two decision, to ban former president Bolsonaro for eight years from running for office after determining he was guilty of abuse of power during last year’s elections. The ban would be instated retroactively from October 2022 and would bar Bolsonaro from running in the 2026 presidential race. In 2030 he would once again be eligible to run for public office.
The Tribunal’s decision was based on a speech given by Bolsonaro before last year’s presidential elections during which, with an audience of diplomatic members, he alleged that electronic voting machines in Brazil were susceptible to being hacked. No evidence of voting machine tampering was provided in support of the allegations. The two dissenting judges considered Bolsonaro’s statement was protected by freedom of expression.
Bolsonaro’s lawyers have stated they will appeal this decision.
July 2023 | Civilian use of guns restricted by decree
Reversing policy of the Bolsonaro administration, which relaxed the rules surrounding gun ownership, Lula da Silva’s government issued a decree restricting the ownership and use of guns by civilians on 21 July. The number and type of guns and ammunition that civilians can own has been reduced, and now requires supporting documentation to prove that gun ownership is needed for personal safety. The time frame for gun permits has also been reduced to three to five years (down from ten). Civilians who own weapons and ammunition that are now banned will be able to sell them, or they may be confiscated by federal police. Oversight of gun ownership has shifted from the military to federal police.
April 2023 | Six new Indigenous territories are legally recognized
President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva announced the legal recognition of six new Indigenous territories. This recognition entails special protection of the peoples that inhabit the territories. It also aims to put an end to illegal mining and other resource exploitation activities that have contributed to the deteriorating health and well-being of certain Indigenous communities. This decision by President Da Silva reverses the policy of former President Bolsonaro, who considered that Indigenous communities had been granted too much land, and who had authorized and encouraged mining even in recognized territories.