Cablegate: Brazil: March Hrc


DE RUEHBR #0204 0582159
R 272157Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Brazil: March HRC

REF: STATE 016231

1. On February 24, poloff delivered the points reftel to Nathanael
de Souza e Silva and Bruna Vieira de Paula of the Division of Human
Rights, Ministry of External Relations (MRE).

Religious and racial intolerance

2. Poloff handed Silva and de Paula a copy of the U.S.-proposed
Action Plan to Combat Racial and Religious Discrimination and
Intolerance, which they had already reviewed. De Paula said that
there was no difference between the U.S. view and the Brazilian
view on defamation of religion. For the GOB the concept violates
international law and Brazilian domestic law. Brazil believes that
Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights adequately address the legitimate concerns of OIC
and African Group countries. She said that Brazil could support
the U.S. plan of action, though she questioned whether it was "too

3. Poloff asked why Brazil has abstained on defamation resolutions
if the GOB in fact opposes the concept on which they are based. De
Paula responded that Brazil abstains and will continue to do so in
recognition of the problem of persistent discrimination and hate
crimes against religious minorities. These issues, she said, must
be addressed somehow, and she reiterated that Brazil liked the U.S.

Guinea and DRC

4. Silva said Brazil will almost always support human rights
technical assistance in cases where the governments of the affected
countries desire such assistance. As long as the governments of
Guinea and DRC wish to be assisted, and especially if there is the
support of the Africa Group, Brazil will support assistance to the
two countries.

Goldstone Report

5. Silva said he saw no reason for Goldstone-related resolutions
to be brought up in the March HRC. Brazil supports the HRC's
acting on its own competence with respect to the report but opposes
the HRC's instructing the UNGA or any other UN organ to act on
Goldstone. Silva said Brazil agreed that the HRC should not take
any additional action until Israeli and Palestinian domestic
investigations have run their course. (Note: Silva described the
Goldstone Report as "impeccable from the legal and academic
standpoint" but added that Goldstone, a judge, had not adequately
taken into account political realities. End note.)

6. Silva agreed that there was a systemic bias in the HRC against
Israel but noted that Brazil has tried to counter such a bias. He
said that the Israeli representative in Geneva called his Brazilian
counterpart on more than one occasion to thank him for Brazil's
principled position against Israel-bashing. Silva said, however,
that Israel was in part responsible for its weak position in the
HRC because it had taken on the role of "persistent objector" and
had not fulfilled its legal commitments.

Iran, DPRK and Burma

7. Silva said that Brazil was open to all U.S. ideas on how to
strengthen human rights monitoring and assistance functions, but
disagreed with the USG about the utility of country-specific
resolutions to "condemn" governments for their human rights
records. Although Brazil in the past occasionally supported such
resolutions, Silva said that the policy now is to abstain both in
the HRC and the UNGA except in the most extraordinary
circumstances. When poloff probed as to the reason for this change
in Brazilian practice, Silva said it was a "question of coherence."
Brazil recognized, for example, that Iran's human rights record and
its record of non-cooperation with legitimate human rights monitors
was far worse than Burma's record, yet Iran's importance to Brazil
from a broader foreign policy standpoint made it impolitic for
Brazil to vote against Iran in the HRC. Silva asked rhetorically,
"How can we then support a resolution against Burma but not one
against Iran?" The Brazilian solution is to abstain on ALL
country-specific resolutions. In response to poloff's further
questioning, Silva said that Brazil nevertheless will evaluate each
country's human rights situation.

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