The Open Society Foundations has announced a five-year, $5 million commitment in support of efforts to defend and promote human rights in Brazil.
Annual investments of $1 million from OSF and additional funds raised from domestic and international funders will support the efforts of Conectas Direitos Humanos, a São Paulo-based human rights organization, to lead and monitor legal cases focused on defenses of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Among other things, the funds will help the organization strengthen its capacity to use strategic litigation as a tool to promote and protect fundamental rights in Brazil, where the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting Black communities and Indigenous peoples and the country's current political leadership has moved aggressively to roll back human rights protections. According to the organization, litigation is essential to promoting change and preventing setbacks in human rights in both the country's highest courts and in defense of individuals or groups in lower court cases.
The organization also engages in advocacy with international bodies such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, as well as campaigns and trainings aimed at mobilizing the public and supporting activists.
"With a global reach, Conectas is one of the leading human rights organizations in Brazil and has a long record of effectively combining communications work and policy advocacy with legal action, a combination badly needed in times of rising authoritarianism and increasing setbacks for human rights," said Pedro Abramovay, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean at Open Society Foundations.
"A strong and vibrant civil society is essential for democracy. The profound attacks on democracy and freedom that we are experiencing should be a call to action for Brazilians to consciously support organizations that defend the rule of law," said Conectas executive director Juana Kweitel. "We are excited to see Brazilian philanthropy coming together to strengthen the culture of giving and diversify funding sources for civil society in the country."
(Photo credit: Conectas Direitos Humanos)