At the UN, Brazil's human rights minister Silvio Almeida mentions 'genocide' and 'apartheid' and demands a peaceful solution for the Middle East

Almeida spoke on behalf of Brazil in the opening ceremony of the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | São Paulo |
Almeida spoke on behalf of Brazil in the opening ceremony of the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council - Ruy Conde / Ascom/MDHC

On Monday (26), Brazil’s Minister of Human Rights and Citizenship, Silvio Almeida, restated the country’s defense of a peaceful solution to the massacre of Palestinians ongoing in the Gaza Strip. When speaking at the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Almeida used the terms “genocide” and “apartheid” to refer to the acts of the Israeli government in the occupied territory.

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“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 emphasized. When referring to Israel’s attack, he cited excerpts from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, unanimously adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

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The minister's speech follows the official statements of the Brazilian government, especially after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party) condemned Israeli military operations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and compared the current situation to the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany.

“I reiterate our repudiation of the blatant disproportionality in the use of force by the government of Israel, a kind of collective punishment that has already claimed the lives of almost 30,000 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 aid,” Almeida said.

In his speech, Brazil’s human rights minister condemned the attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7 of last year, and stressed that President Lula demanded the immediate and unconditional liberation of all the hostages the group still keeps in Gaza.

Silvio Almeida advocated for the creation of a free and sovereign Palestinian state that would live together with Israel as a “crucial” condition for peace. He also said that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal and violates international norms.

“Here [at the UN Human Rights Council], many challenges humanity faces are presented. There are still those who resist seeing part of humanity as recipients of the same rights they enjoy. Tragically, there are people who don't believe that the challenges we face are, indeed, common to each and every one of us. Human rights cannot be subjected to a trade logic in which only those who can pay are worthy of respect," he said.

Edited by: Rodrigo Durão Coelho