ACT Board issues solidarity statement on the political and social crisis in Brazil

2nd June 2017

The Board of the global ACT Alliance, meeting in Geneva on the 1st and 2nd of June 2017 expresses its deep concern with the unfolding crisis of democracy in Brazil, characterised by violence and aggression against the most vulnerable citizens of the country.

Since the current political crisis began, violence is escalating, especially in remote areas and against Indigenous Peoples. This year alone 35 peasants, indigenous and human/environmental defenders have been murdered in Brazil; painful evidence of the rising hostility towards vulnerable groups and those that stand up for them.

Although political woes and violence are not uncommon in the country, the impunity of the attackers and the links with police activities should concern all Brazilians and the international community as expressed by the UN in its recent statement.

The situation in Brazil requires our careful attention, permanent solidarity and commitment. As violence escalates, space for civil society shrinks, and the poorest and marginalized are the most affected by it.

The unprecedented austerity measures which lead to increasing inequality and a sharpening of social divisions are contributing to an escalating crisis that calls for action from the ecumenical movement. As affirmed by a declaration by FE-ACT, the ACT Forum in Brazil, it is critical that social provisions by the state are restored and that democratic institutions are revived and strengthened to guarantee social inclusion while reversing the trend towards greater inequality.  The distribution of income, fair taxation of wealth, fair and transparent political processes, fair and just application of the law should all be pursued.

We reaffirm our commitment to walk with the people who are directly affected by the unjust decisions currently being made. We, as representatives of the global ecumenical community, therefore call for a restauration of democratic principles and processes, especially taking into account the voices of the most marginalized.

All sectors of society, are called upon to take responsibility and help turn the tide of intimidation and violence.  It is time for active reflection, leveraging prophetic voices and joining hands in solidarity.

“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream! “
(Amos 5:24)