Brazil and South America


In focus

Freedom of expression and access to information across Brazil and South America continue to face barriers – free expression is threatened by ongoing impunity for attacks against communicators, while government failures on access to information enable other violations.

Violence against human right defenders and communicators in Brazil and South America continues to be one of the primary threats to free expression and other human rights. Throughout the region, they face attacks and sometimes killing for speaking out against powerful actors. Often attacks go without punishment, and this impunity perpetuates the violence.

While legislative progress on the right to information in the region has seen the adoption of right to information laws in 23 countries across South America, there remains a significant implementation gap. A lack of transparency on environmental issues, especially on extractives and large development projects, has enabled corrupt practices and environmental damage, and the rights of indigenous people in relation to these industries and projects are side-lined. Poor transparency on other important human rights issues like violence against women also prevents acknowledgement of the severity of the issue, and can in some circumstances reduce the ability of citizens and civil society to hold their government to account. Access to information is also limited by poor Internet connectivity in many areas.

Our work

In Brazil and South America, we work through advocacy and awareness raising activities at the national level and active engagement on development of treaties at the regional level to improve access to information, particularly on environmental matters. We monitor cases of violations against human rights defenders and journalists, in order to raise them with the Inter-American Special Rapporteur and push for an end to impunity across the region.

Meet the Team

In the streets, in the laws in the courts: Violations of the right to protest in Brazil, 2015-2016