Brazil returned as a member of the Human Rights
Council in 2013 and played an important role supporting the Council's engagement
on country situations.
2015 Voting Record
Brazil maintained a positive voting record on country situations, supporting most country-specific resolutions in 2014, including on North Korea, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Iran and Syria. It voted against a hostile non-action motion presented by Pakistan to adjourn the vote on the Sri Lanka resolution. Brazil voted in favor of all resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories (OPT), including during the special session on Israeli military operations in Gaza in July 2014. However, Brazil abstained on the June 2014 resolution on Ukraine.
Regrettably, Brazil failed to support joint statements addressing the situations in Egypt and Bahrain, despite the human rights violations in these countries and the two governments’ lack of cooperation with UN human rights mechanisms. Brazil had previously supported a joint statement on Bahrain in September 2013.
In 2014, Brazil rarely contributed to country specific-debates of the Council, only taking the floor during dialogues with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, the Council’s special sessions, and occasionally under Item 7. Similarly, Brazil remained one of the Council members that abstained from co-sponsoring country specific resolutions in 2014 – the only exception being one resolution on the OPT.
Notably, Brazil was one of the four Latin-American countries to successfully present a landmark resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity in September 2014.
As an important and influential voice at the Human Rights Council, Brazil should strengthen its visibility by reviewing its practice to not co-sponsor country resolutions, and by broadly participating in country-specific debates at the Council. It should also demonstrate more leadership by supporting joint statements on situations that are not addressed through resolutions, by mobilizing the Council to act on emerging situations and by intervening more systematically in country-specific debates at the Council.
Voting record in 2014
Support for key joint statements in 2014
Brazil voted in favor of all the country resolutions that were put to the vote under agenda items 2 and 4. Brazil also played a key role in the negotiations that led to the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on Haiti. Brazil's positive engagement in the Council was overshadowed somewhat by its decision not to support the call for the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC. Brazil's decision not to sign the March 2013 statement on the human rights situation in Bahrain was also disappointing. However, Brazil did support the joint call for Bahrain to improve its human rights record, in September 2013.
Brazil voted in favor of all resolutions focusing on the human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories
Brazil's strong voting record was not matched by
its co-sponsorship of country specific resolutions or its participation in
debates on country situations in the Council. In 2013 it only co-sponsored three
country-specific resolutions (on Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo and
Palestine). In addition, while Brazil spoke on almost all debates on the human
rights situation in Syria, it did not participate in the
debates on human rights in numerous other places including North Korea, Burma,
Iran, Eritrea and Somalia. Brazil should broaden its co-sponsorship of
country-specific resolutions and diversify its participation in the
country-specific debates of the Council.