Open letter to the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Image: Messala Ciulla


The undersigned here support the democratic government of Brazil and agree with the decision taken by Brazilian diplomacy at the International Court of Justice

Your Excellency, President of the Republic, Mr. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Your Excellency, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mauro Vieira

The South African government presented, on December 29, a petition to the UN International Court of Justice, in The Hague, a body with 15 judges that judges disputes between States, with the support of 67 countries, including Brazil. The petition accuses the State of Israel of failing to comply with the 1951 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

On January 10, in a note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the President of the Republic reported the efforts and actions that his government has taken in numerous forums, in favor of the ceasefire, the release of hostages and the protection of the civilian population in Gaza . He also highlighted Brazil's tireless performance as President of the Security Council to promote a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Gaza.

In light of the continued flagrant violations of international humanitarian law in Gaza, the president expressed his support for South Africa's initiative to call the International Court of Justice in The Hague to order Israel to immediately cease all acts and measures that may constitute genocide or related crimes under the Genocide Convention.

The President's decision raised criticism such as the allegation of an alleged lack of coherence in Brazilian diplomacy in supporting the trip to the Court, which was considered to be in disagreement with the foreign policy of balance between Israel and Palestine, and would have as its objective the delegitimization of Israel breaking the brotherhood (sic) with the Jewish people, reinforcing anti-Semitism.

There is no incoherence in Brazilian diplomacy. These criticisms ignore that the Brazilian State has been guided in international relations by the primacy of respect for human rights, in accordance with article 4 of the 1988 Constitution. Brazilian foreign policy under democratic constitutionality has always respected the primacy of international norms and decisions of multilateral bodies.

Any reference to the crisis in Gaza must be examined, as the UN Secretary-General recently asserted, in the context of the history of relations between Israel and the Palestinian people. The maintenance of equidistance in Brazil's relations comes from the situation of the two parties to the conflict from the perspective of Brazil's obligations under international legislation: the State of Israel, as the occupying power and occupied Palestine subjected to years of apartheid, 56 years of military occupation and 16 years of blockade in Gaza.

Many critics claim that the Court process leaves aside the examination of the Hamas attacks on October 7th. However, Hamas cannot be a party to proceedings before the International Court of Justice, which only examines disputes between states. The Court will examine Israel's defense that blames Hamas for civilian deaths rather than its own conduct. In any case, the judicial body that can penalize Hamas' war crimes is the International Criminal Court (which investigates and prosecutes individuals), but Israel prevented the Court's prosecutor from entering Gaza due to the risk that he could investigate and prosecute official authorities. of Israel.

The accusation of reinforcing anti-Semitism is part of the campaign to politically exploit the term by considering any criticism of the State of Israel and its government as anti-Semitic. Anti-Semitism is a dangerous scourge and must be vigorously combated. But it is not being anti-Semitic to condemn the apartheid and Israel's systematic disregard for the decisions of UN bodies and international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the failure to prevent genocide. As noted by the Jerusalem Declaration and the The Nexus Document on anti-Semitism, falsely equating anti-Semitism with criticism of Israel undermines the important fight against anti-Semitism.

 Unfortunately, all these hypocritical criticisms of the government's decision in boastful letters, editorials, and avalanche of notes on social media do not take into account the nature, scope and extent of Israel's military attacks on Gaza, with a continuous bombardment for 100 days in one of the regions most densely populated in the world, forcing the evacuation of 1,9 million people (85% of Gaza's population) from their homes, displaced to increasingly cramped areas, without adequate shelter, where they continue to be bombed, killed, injured and deprived of basic needs for survival. The attacks have killed more than 23.843 Palestinians.

Gaza has become a cemetery for more than 10.000 children, with thousands of people injured in amputations without anesthesia, missing, supposedly buried under the rubble. 82 journalists were killed, many with their extended families. 152 UN staff were killed, more than in any other conflict in the organization's 78-year history.

Israel has destroyed vast areas of Gaza, including entire neighborhoods, damaged or destroyed more than 355 Palestinian homes, agricultural land, bakeries, schools, four universities, businesses, mosques and places of worship, cemeteries, cultural and archaeological sites, municipal services and facilities of water and sanitation and electricity networks, Palestinian medical and health systems. Israel continues to reduce Gaza to rubble, killing, injuring and destroying the population and creating living conditions that South Africa's petition alleges are calculated for the physical destruction of the Palestinians as an ethnic and national group.

The undersigned here support the democratic government of Brazil and agree with the decision taken by Brazilian diplomacy at the International Court of Justice. In this sense, we support the President of the Republic, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mauro Vieira.

PAULO SÉRGIO PINHEIRO, Former Minister of the State Secretariat for Human Rights

KENNETH ROTH, Former Executive Director of Human Rights Watch

AMBASSADOR JOSÉ MAURÍCIO BUSTANI, Former Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

JUAN E. MENDEZ, Former Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide

FABIO KONDER COMPARATO, Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Law, USP

AMBASSADOR TADEU VALADARES, Former director of the Department of Human Rights and Social Issues, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

JAMES CAVALLARO, Former President of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, OAS

MARILENA CHAUI, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, USP

PAULO VANNUCHI, Former Minister of Human Rights

REGINALDO NASSER, Professor of International Relations, PUC-SP

ROGERIO SOTTILI, Former Minister of Human Rights

LUIZ CARLOS BRESSER PEREIRA, Former Minister of Finance, Former Minister of Federal Administration and State Reform


LUIZ EDUARDO SOARES, Anthropologist and Writer, Former National Secretary of Public Security

NILMA LINO GOMES, Former Minister of Racial Equality


JOSE´LUIZ DEL ROIO, Historian, Former Senator of Italy

IDELI SALVATI, Former Senator, Former Minister of Human Rights


ELEONORA MENICUCCI DE OLIVEIRA, Former Minister of Policies for Women

BRENO ALTMAN, Journalist

SALEM NASSER, Professor of International Relations, FGV-Law

PEPE VARGAS, State Deputy - RS and Former Minister of Human Rights


MARIA DO ROSARIO, Federal Deputy, Former Minister of Human Rights

MARIA VICTORIA DE MESQUITA BENEVIDES, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Education, USP

BRUNO HUBERMAN, Professor of International Relations, PUC-SP

AMBASSADOR JOSÉ VIEGAS FILHO, Former Minister of Defense

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