International Criminal Court

The Brazilian Union of Doctors and Nurses accuses Bolsonaro of genocide before the ICC

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Brazilian President Joe Bolsonaro is accused of genocide and crimes against humanity due to his management of the new coronavirus emergency. A group of unions and social organizations representing more than 1 million Brazilian health workers have filed a complaint before the Hague International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands. Bolsonaro, according to the Brazilian trade union network UNISaúde, is accused of committing a crime against humanity by reacting to the pandemic with “contempt, abandonment, and rejection.” With over 87,000 deaths and 2.4 million infected so far, Brazil is the country most affected by coronavirus worldwide, second only to the United States (4.37 million cases).

UNISaúde claims there is evidence that Bolsonaro committed a crime against humanity because of “negligent and irresponsible actions that contributed to the more than 80,000 deaths from the disease in the country”. We are not talking about a few dozen doctors and nurses but over a million health workers, both in the public and private spheres, in 18 Brazilian states and the Federal District. Bolsonaro’s government should be accused of his insensitive action in the face of the pandemic and of his refusal to protect Brazilian health workers and the Brazilian population, which he promised to defend when he became president, said Marcio Monzane, UNISaude secretary-general. “We understand that recourse to the international criminal court is a drastic measure, but Brazilians are facing an extreme and dangerous situation created by the deliberate decisions of Bolsonaro.” He added.

The document published yesterday accuses the Brazilian president of putting health workers at risk by promoting the gathering of his supporters, approaching them without a mask and advertising drugs, such as hydroxychloroquine, for which there is no scientific proof of the efficacy against the disease. The action also condemns the fact that the country does not have a competent minister in the Ministry of Health.

According to the Brazilian Ministry of Health’s epidemiological bulletin, 96,000 nurses, technicians and nursing assistants have been affected by COVID-19 during the week of July 12-18. The death toll of these workers on July 24 was close to 300, according to the Cofen Nursing Observatory. On the other hand, not only health workers are exposed, but also groups and populations at risk due to the omission of the authorities. Indigenous peoples are also in the extreme. Many minorities are likely to be wiped out of Covid19. A real extermination, which for trade unions could in part be avoided or at least limited.

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