Brazil once again accuses Israel of collective punishment in Gaza

The Minister of Human Rights gave a speech at the UN

Published on 26/02/2024 - 14:52 By Daniella Almeida - Brasília

Brazil’s Minister of Human Rights and Citizenship Silvio Almeida in Geneva on Monday (Feb. 26) defended the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state.

“The creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state that coexists with the state of Israel is an essential condition for peace. We consider it the duty of this [UN Human Rights] Council to honor the self-determination of peoples, the search for a peaceful solution to conflicts, and to vehemently oppose all forms of neocolonialism and apartheid,” the minister declared.

Minister Almeida’s statement came during the opening of the 55th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. On the rostrum, he expressed his deep indignation at the current situation in the Gaza Strip and repudiated the disproportionate use of force by the Israeli government.

“A kind of collective punishment that has already claimed the lives of almost 30 thousand Palestinians—most of them women and children. It has forcibly displaced over 80 percent of Gaza’s population and left thousands of civilians without access to electricity, drinking water, food, and basic humanitarian assistance.”

The minister cited the initiative of South Africa, which filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice in December last year claiming that Israel violated the 1948 Genocide Convention in retaliation against the Hamas group. In his speech, he praised the South African initiative and said he hoped the court would reaffirm the illegality of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Brazil’s mandate

Minister Silvio Almeida’s speech inaugurates Brazil’s sixth fixed term on the body, from 2024–2026. In October 2023, Brazil was once again elected to the UN Human Rights Council, with 144 votes, and will now once again occupy one of its 15 seats.

The minister recalled the beginning of his tenure at the head of the Ministry of Human Rights, when he announced that Brazil was back to rebuild public policies that would meet the needs of the country, which was unequal and divided.

“At international level, under President Lula, we revived our universalist vocation and brought Brazil back to the forefront of multilateral discussions and international disputes surrounding human rights.”

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Denise Griesinger

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