Brazil’s foreign policy has been allying itself with ultraconservative Islamic countries with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights of Brazilian women. Jacqueline Pitanguy addresses this issue in her article The crusade against Brazilian women. On behalf of whom does Brazil speak when adopting such positions at the United Nations ?. The article was published in the Folha de São Paulo newspaper, on September 9th. To read the whole article access here or read it bellow:
The Crusade against Brazilian Women: Brazil at the UN
Former President of the National Council for the Rights of Women
Published at Folha de São Paulo, September 9 , 2020
At first the forces that support ultra- conservative movements appear to be heterogeneous and dispersed. A closer look reveals that these forces establish unusual articulations such as Brazil’s alliances with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Pakistan, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Sudan at the UN Human Rights Council. The only western country in this articulation, Brazil, which mainly professes Christianity, allied itself with Islamic and ultra conservative countries, where women are still second –class citizens.
It is important that Brazilian women, citizens with full rights, know that in the sphere of the United Nations it is with these countries that Brazil allies itself in issues related to their human rights.
In whose name does Brazil speak when adopting such a position?
At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, whose main theme was the approval of a resolution proposed by Mexico on discrimination against women and girls Brazil, allied to these countries, opposed the inclusion of entire paragraphs that recommended access to contraceptive information and methods, access to coercion-free sexual rights and health and discrimination, as well as against texts concerning the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and access to abortion performed under appropriate medical and sanitary conditions .The delegation of Brazil at the meeting was also against the inclusion of the right to universal access to sex education.
In our country millions of Brazilian women exercise their rights guaranteed in the Constitution and in national legislation regarding their sexual and reproductive life. They use contraceptive methods, resort to health services to treat sexually transmitted infections, may choose to resort to safe abortion performed under appropriate medical and sanitary conditions if they are victims of rape, are at risk of like or if the fetus is anencephalic
In whose name does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs speak when it tends against Brazilian citizens guaranteed rights? Does he speak only on behalf of fundamentalist radicals like those who denied 10- years – girl the right to terminate a pregnancy resulting from rape?
It is important to bring these government positions in international forums closer to the daily lives of Brazilian women and girls, to warn of the
fact that foreign policy and national public policies are currently intertwined in a perverse choreography of denials of rights.
Brazil’s silence on the Human Rights Council to abstain, together with Qatar, Libya and Afghanistan from voting, and passing the resolution accepted by most governments, against discrimination against women and girls and for their sexual and reproductive rights, is not neutral. It is a silence that echoes its partnership with countries that are caractherized by the submission of women.
It is a silence that shames us.
In whose name does Brazil strive to destroy what was ensured in international and regional documents signed by other governments, even going against the laws and public policies in force in the country?
It is a crusade against women’s sexual and reproductive rights and health. In whose name do these crusaders ride?