By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – As tensions rise in Brazil due to the on-going impeachment debate started in the Chamber of Deputies, and rallies pro and against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff intensify, international organizations are signaling their concern.
Without taking a position for or against the proceedings entities such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Organization of American States (OAS) released notes this week voicing their concern.
According to the Spokesperson for the OHCHR, Rupert Colville, the United Nations is concerned about the increasingly heated debate that has engulfed Brazil over the past few weeks.
“We urge the Government, as well as politicians from other parties, to cooperate fully with the judicial authorities in their investigations into allegations of high-level corruption, and to avoid any actions that could be construed as a means of obstructing justice.”
He also said that a ‘vicious circle’ may be developing which could cause serious long-term damage to the country and ‘the democratic achievements made in the past twenty years during which Brazil has been governed under a Constitution which provides strong human rights guarantees’.
Through a public message to President Rousseff, according to Agencia Brasil, ECLAC’s executive secretary, Alicia Bárcena expressed her concern with what she classified as threats to the democratic stability in Brazil. “The events being experienced by Brazil today resound with force beyond its borders and illustrate to Latin America as a whole the risks and difficulties that our democracy is still exposed to,” the official is quoted as having written.
Although OAS’s secretary general, Luis Almagro stated his admiration for President Rousseff and the work and the social achievements obtained by her country, he added that “it is imperative that the ongoing investigation known as ´Operação Lava Jato´ continue.”
“The rule of law demands that we are all responsible and equal before the law. No one, and I mean no one, is above the law,” emphasized Almagro. “On the other hand, no judge is above the law they must apply, and the Constitution that guarantees their work. Democracy cannot be the victim of opportunism, but must be sustained by the force of its ideas and by ethics,” he concluded.
President Rousseff has been under investigation for manipulating government finances and a special commission has been set up to discuss impeachment proceedings against the leader. Members of her administration as well as Congressional representatives have been accused of receiving money from the Lava Jato scheme, and millions of Brazilians have taken to the streets in the past few weeks to demand her resignation.