UN Expert Mechanism's Visit to Brazil

From 29 November to 8 December 2023, UN experts visited four major Brazilian cities to assess and document the drivers and impacts of structural racism in law enforcement, including instances of excessive use of force and other human rights violations against people of African descent. The experts visited the capital, Brasília, and the cities of Salvador, Bahia (29-1 November), Fortaleza, Ceará (1-2 December), São Paulo, SP (2-4 December), and Rio de Janeiro, RJ (5-8 December).

 

With this visit, EMLER experts have the chance to inform the global human rights system of the faces, voices, and stories behind these figures with the first-hand testimonials of survivors and communities on the ground.

– Salimah Hankins

With support from the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) and its local members and partners in each city, the experts heard testimonies from approximately 108 directly impacted people across four cities held in the form of UN hearings. The coalition and its local partners planned all aspects of the UN hearings before EMLER including the selection and securing of locations for the hearings, providing refreshments and food, creating the agenda, selecting and preparing all impacted people for their testimonies, and finally, we were able to support 91 victims and family of victims with stipends and transportation financial aid. We also provided specialized security for the people attending and psychological/ emotional support, which was especially critical as it was most important to UNARC that the visit not re-traumatize those individuals giving their testimonies.

 

We hope this visit will be the basis for a substantial policy shift for Brazilian security institutions.

 Maria José Menezes

BRAZIL VISIT TIMELINE

Timeline Description
April - November 2023:
Monthly meetings organized by UNARC with Brazilian organizations, activists, and stakeholders to collectively discuss the logistic aspects of the visit.
July - September 2023

 EMLER Call for Inputs on Brazil Visit (click here to see the content of the call for contributions).

13 November 2023:

Release of the UNARC and CND (Coalizão Negra por Direitos) international media advisory (access it here)

27 November - 8 December

27 - 28 - EMLER in Brasília, D.F.  

29 - UN Hearing with directly impacted people in Salvador, Bahia.

2 - UN Hearing with directly impacted people in Fortaleza, Ceará.

3 - UN Hearing with directly impacted people in São Paulo, SP.

5 - UN Hearing with directly impacted people in Rio de Janeiro, RJ.

28 November

Security training organized by UNARC and the security company hired,  AJAKA Segurança Especiaizada Ltda, a Black-led Brazilian company focused on providing security to socially minoritized groups. 

29 November - 5 December
UNARC's role during the visit. Salimah Hankins, Nayara Khaly, Maria José Menezes (representative of Coalizão Negra por Direitos), and Ajaka's agents traveled to all four cities where the Experts Mechanism met with civil society.
8 December

EMLER Press Release regarding the visit (download it in Portuguese here/ access it in English here). Find the UN X (Former Twitter) post about the visit here and here.

18 December

UNARC and Coalizão Negra por Direitos Press Release (English here/ Portuguese here).

  • EMLER BRAZIL VISIT REPORT
  • UNARC BRAZIL VISIT REPORT
  • BRAZIL VISIT DOCUMENTARY

WHAT IS COMING SOON?

International Independent Experts Mechanism

International Independent Experts Mechanism

EMLER is a United Nations mechanism created in 2021 by the Human Rights Council to specifically focus on the “promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers through transformative change for racial justice and equality.”

The United Nations Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement
The United Nations Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement

Meet our Brazil Visit Team

Nayara Khaly Silva Sanfo

Nayara Khaly Silva Sanfo (she/her) is an AfroBrazilian woman of Ivorian descent based in São Paulo, Brazil. Currently, she is an International Relations Master’s degree student at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) and holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from São Paulo State University (UNESP). 

Nayara is engaged in migration rights academic research and social justice activism through the intersectionalities of gender and race in South America.  Her professional journey is focused on education, policy-making through a decolonial approach, and international human rights institutions. 

 

She has worked with children and teenagers’ education for eight years, through Núcleo de Estudo do Samba (Samba Study Group, UNESP), the Activism Group of Amnesty International in the city of Franca, and Ensina Brasil (Teach for All Brazil).  She also has experience as an English<>Portuguese interpreter, having interpreted for instance the North American Black feminist author, Patricia Hill Collins. Additionally, she served as a parliamentary advisor in the Legislative Assembly of the State of São Paulo for many years, working on a mandate centered on gender and race issues as foundations of political thought. She primarily joined the United Nations Anti-Racism Coalition (UNARC) and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) as a Fellow Consultant.

Our Team - UNARC Salimah Hankins

Salimah Hankins

Director for the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC) where she supports the engagement of organizations around the world, who are working on United Nations accountability for systemic racism and police violence against Africans and people of African Descent. Salimah is also an attorney and former community organizer with over 15 years of experience in the area of civil and human rights. Before this, she served as the Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), a non-governmental organization that facilitates the access of grassroots groups to the United Nations and other international human rights bodies.

In 2020, Salimah led the creation of a virtual healing and story-telling event with the families of Black people killed by police in the United States including Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Amaud Arbery, and others. Also, in 2020, under Salimah’s leadership, USHRN worked with civil society to bring the case of George Floyd’s killing to the United Nations which was a precursor to the creation of a brand new UN mechanism, the Expert Mechanism to Advance Racial Justice and Equality in Law Enforcement (EMLER

Salimah has produced seven annual human rights reports for USHRN and her writing has  been featured in a number of publications including International Journal of Human Rights Education, Poverty & Race, and Social Text (Duke University Press). She began her legal career as an associate at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland, advocating for the rights of low-income communities of color living in Baltimore’s public housing. More recently, she served as Senior Staff Attorney for Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, CA, where she worked with community groups to secure an affordable housing fund worth $75 million as the result of a settlement with Facebook. Her work was featured in The Guardian,Financial Times, and a number of other publications. In 2022, Salimah was invited to speak at the UNESCO Global Forum Against Racism and Discrimination in Mexico City.

Salimah received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern University where she studied International Law and Comparative Politics, and her law degree from Suffolk University Law School, both located in Boston, Massachusetts. She has served as a human rights fellow at the Urban Justice Center, and was selected for the Whitney M. Young fellowship at Columbia University. She is a licensed member of the (legal) bar in California, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C. and has been a certified professional coach and RYT 200 yoga teacher for BIPOC activists.   Originally from New Orleans, Salimah is also a singer/songwriter who will release her debut album in 2023.  

Our Team - UNARC Lamar Bailey

Lamar Bailey

Coalition Coordinator for the UN Antiracism Coalition (UNARC). Afropanamanian activist and educator. She graduated from the Baruch College (City University of New York) and is currently pursuing a Master program in development and cooperation in the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, in Spain. Additionally, she graduated from the Centro de Estudios Afrolatinoamericanos (ALARI) from the Hutchins Center in Harvard University. 

In Panama, she was a member of the Afropanamanian Youth Network and is currently a member of Voices of Afrodescendant Women in Panama (VOMAP) and the Afropanamanian Forum. She participated in a weekly radio show to promote the full inclusion of afropanamanians into the national Panamanian narrative of national identity by highlighting the achievements of the afropanamnian youth. She has worked as a teacher for 5 years in Panama City, teaching History and Human Geography with a focus on Human Rights utilizing the Multiple Intelligences Methodology and an inclusive teaching approach. Lamar is one of the co-directors of the documentary Miss Panama, a short documentary about her mother who was the first black Miss Panama, discussing topics of racism, imperialism, national identity and the importance of community. 

While living in Valencia, Spain, she participated in the creation of the organization Uhuru, which is a grassroot collective fighting against anti-black racism and creating a community of Black, African, Afrodescendant and Afroeuropean people of all ages and origins. Additionally, she is part of the Implementation Team for the Decade of People of African Descent in Spain 2015-2024.

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