Ever since São Paulo deputy and Christian Social Party (PSC) member Marco Feliciano was elected as president of Brazil’s Human Rights and Minorities Commission (CDHM), he has gained notoriety throughout the country over accusations that he made racist, homophobic and misogynist statements, which sparked protests in over forty cities in Brazil, and other countries including the US and France, demanding that he be removed from the role.
Feliciano was voted in by the Commission with eleven votes of a possible 18 (only twelve took part in the end) on 7 March and, following further debates, it was decided on 26 March that he would keep his position.
However, it was reported that attempts to convince Feliciano to step down would continue, including by Henrique Eduardo Alves, President of the Chamber of Deputies, who has weighed into the debate, saying that the CDHM, given its importance, cannot remain at this “untenable” impasse.
Despite its size, the PSC has two members on the Commission, whereas the far bigger Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) and Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) are not represented.
While he has enjoyed general support from his party and Conservative Christian groups, others question whether Feliciano’s views on minorities make him the best choice for Brazil’s top human rights official. In part because in 2011, Feliciano took to Twitter to say that people of African descent were cursed and has also made many comments seen as extremely offensive by sexual minorities and atheists.
The latest protests calling for his resignation have seen vigils and the burning of effigies in front of government buildings in Brasília. There have also been protests in support of his role and Feliciano has spoken of his determination to stay, saying he has the assurances of the Commission.
Commentators believe his position is untenable and if he does not resign, he will have to be removed from office as the Commission has not functioned in any meaningful way since the controversial election.
Read the full article on The Rio Times website.