A post by Mathias Möller, Brazil:
“In my last post I wrote about the event promoted by the Department of Public Information in order to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the compendium of advances made since then.
One noticeable issue was the gap between rhetoric and daily reality. Therefore I would like to exchange with you some lessons learned during the week I were attending to the Human Rights Council (HCR) at the United Nations. For those who shall not know, this Council is a very important part of the UN Human Rights machinery. Here main issues are addressed to the Council and their solutions harmonized between the governments and where even the Civil Society has an important role to take.
For the challenges remaining to overcome the mentioned gaps to preservation of human rights, the new appointed High Commissioner for Human Rights in the United Nations, Ms Navassethan Pillay, reiterated the vision of our one only world in which every man, woman and child lives in dignity, free from hunger and protected from violence and discrimination, with the benefits of housing, health care, education and opportunity.
Therefore the HRC has been establishing several mechanisms to promote and protect human rights, equality and justice for all. Even though there still is a long way to go we do have made great progress in recent years, as said by the President of the 9th session of the HRC.
One of these mechanisms is the function of the Special Rapporteur (SR) in main and agreed issues to be addressed by the Council. In Brazil, for example, we had in August this year (2008) the official visit of the “SR on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people”, Prof. James Anaya. This was the first visit of such a SR, which emerged from a civil organization of indigenous representatives who addressed the UN system. The report has not been delivered, yet, but nevertheless, the SR had the opportunity to receive contributions from diverse authorities and civil organizations in Brazil.
I wish we could take more advantage of the possibilities offered by the United Nations and its member States in regarding human rights and address peoples’ demands by promoting the respect for their dignity. Doing so by bringing an important subsidy to the work of the SR or even by following the results achieved from his report and the remarked recommendations, which are, in the sense of not interference, not necessarily to be followed by member States.
As stated in the annual lemma in 2007 of our IECLB (Evangelical Church of Lutheran Confession in Brazil), “for we cannot keep from speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4,20), I would like to encourage an even more active civil participation in that what is to be our international citizenship and, in the particular case of the rights of indigenous people in Brazil, to work in strict harmony with the actions supported by the LWF that has a recognized status as official consultant to the HRC.
By closing, I would like to encourage those who are familiar and active in the fight for the rights of indigenous people in Brazil, mostly the young ones, and suggest them to follow these concerns as a good exchange of experiences that might be of great use in the follow ups of the Special Rapporteur’s future recommendations.”