As we process the results of the recent election in Brazil, we brace ourselves for the threats the newly elected far right president and former military officer, Jair Bolsonaro, represents for human rights, women and girls, racial justice, the environment, indigenous peoples, LGBTQI communities and social justice in Brazil and regionally. An election marked by extremist violence, disinformation and disregard for liberty and democracy, has left the country divided. The threats posed by the myriad of hateful racist, homophobic, and misogynistic discourses by the elected president and supporters, stands in direct contradiction to Brazil’s role as a global champion of women’s rights, gender equality, racial justice and LGBTQI rights.  

As feminists and human rights defenders from countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific, committed to social, economic, ecological and gender justice, we come together to reaffirm, that we will keep our strength, determination and unity in defence of all human rights, freedoms and the wellbeing of people and planet.

Women, feminists and other social movements have led mobilization efforts in Brazil and they will not be made invisible by fascism and threats. The #EleNão (#NotHim) mobilization occupied every corner of Brazil in efforts to resist the election of Jair Bolsonaro. There is no doubt that this is a dark moment in Brazil’s history. However, we will not allow grief to overshadow the ongoing resistance of progressive civil society in the country; nor the wins and the election of public servants who stand for justice, human rights, democracy and freedom. We will turn fear and threats into seeds of resistance. We will continue to organize for justice.  

Let’s celebrate the luta with the victory of the first ever indigenous woman elected to the Brazilian Congress, Joênia Wapichana, who will fight for land rights for indigenous peoples, environmental protection and against the agribusiness industry. Let’s  rejoice in the fact that the state of Bahia, where nearly 83% of the population are Afro-Brazilian, has for the first time ever elected a black woman, Olivia Santana, as state representative. While there has been no further response to the assassination of Marielle Franco (in march of 2018), her strength and struggle have continued, and during this election, three of her former political aides were elected as state representative in Rio de Janeiro – Renata Souza, Monica Francisco, and Dani Monteiro. Talíria Petrone, also a black woman and a councillor for the city of Rio de Janeiro, and Marielle’s movement partner, was elected to national congress. Their mandates mirror Marielle’s to continue to fight for human rights, women’s rights and justice for black Brazilian youth and other minorities. We acclaim that in São Paulo, the first trans woman was elected as state representative, Érica Malunguinho, whose priorities includes fighting for the rights of LGBTQI+ community, addressing sexual and gender-based violence and social protection for the homeless. All of them encourage us and are examples of anti-racist, feminist, black, brown and indigenous leaders who will continue to defend our rights by challenging patriarchy and facism amd promote and uphold justice.

What the international human rights community, funders and allies must do moving forward is to continue to pay attention to and support elected feminist in implementing their mandates; and practice solidarity with human rights, environmental defenders and social justice leaders in Brazil and regionally. To celebrate that where there is struggle, there is also resistance and creativity, and that politics can be done differently.

We need to remain inspired, connected and vigilant so that the threats of the far right politics and politicians can be counteracted  at the national, regional and global levels.

Right wing populism is sweeping the globe. Conservatism and fundamentalist language, arguments, violence, and rhetoric has become part of all of our every day. Right wing, fascist, and conservative forces continue to take aim at our sexual and reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and freedoms. The rise of authoritarian conservatism is coupled with the prioritization of neoliberal interests; of privatization, austerity, deregulation, and capitalism.

We are in solidarity with the activists in Brazil and with those that resisted the election of an anti-rights, racist and homophobic president. We support and celebrate elected officials that stand for human rights and justice for all. We will not stop holding them, we will not let go. The effects of rising extremisms, far right politics, and backlash against human rights, economic and ecological justice are transboundary and affect us all. We will continue to nurture and build resilient social movements to resist all forms of discrimination, racism, sexism, hatred and oppression.