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Rights group commends Brazil for dictatorship report, but says gaps remain

Rights group commends Brazil for dictatorship report, but says gaps remain

Human Rights Watch commended Brazil on Friday for a recent book detailing political killings during the 1964-85 military dictatorship, but said important parts of the repression remain secret and must be brought to light.
The Washington-based group praised President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva _ a former leftist labor leader and political prisoner _ for releasing "The Right to Memory and Truth," a 500-page government report on the findings of an 11-year investigation by the national Commission on Political Deaths and Disappearances.
The book cites 475 cases of people who were killed or "disappeared" _ often dropped into the sea _ during the military regime.
"Brazil has finally released a comprehensive account of the brutal methods that its military regime used to dispose of political opponents," Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mail. "Yet significant aspects of this dark history still need to be clarified."
Brazilian armed forces have never opened key archives from the dictatorship years, and Silva did not promise to make them public. As a result, the commission was unable to determine some elements of the crimes, including the whereabouts of most "disappeared" victims.
Silva said Wednesday that Brazil should set a deadline to find out what happened to the regime's victims and recover their remains.
But he also said Brazilians should not expect prosecution of members of the dictatorship, citing a 1979 amnesty that pardoned both government agents and members of armed political groups who had committed abuses.
"The Brazilian government has made real progress in establishing the truth and providing reparations to victims' families," Vivanco said. "What it still needs to provide is justice by prosecuting those responsible for these heinous crimes."


Updated : 2021-07-30 16:52 GMT+08:00