The Brazilian Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy was created as civil society organizations and state institutions felt a shared need to stimulate citizen participation and strengthen democratic control of Brazilian foreign policy as it relates to human rights.
The idea for the creation of a permanent group to monitor Brazilian foreign policy arose from a public hearing entitled “Foreign Policy and Human Rights,” held on September 28, 2005, at the House of Representatives, sponsored by the Commission on Human Rights and Minorities.
The hearing brought together representatives of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, members of the academic community and civil society organizations for the purpose of debating Brazil’s performance in the now-defunct United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Conectas Human Rights presented research they had conducted showing that the formulation and execution of Brazilian foreign policy as it relates to human rights lacks transparency and participation from outside groups. It was further noted that there is a disconnect between the supremacy of human rights norms mandated by Article 4, paragraph II, of the Brazilian Constitution, and what happens in practice.
After the hearing, three meetings were held to define the nature, principles and objectives of the permanent group in charge of monitoring the impact of Brazilian foreign policy on human rights issues. Those present also researched similar initiatives in other countries. From these meetings arose the Brazilian Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Policy.
On May 31, 2006, there was an event in the Brazilian House of Representatives in Brasília to mark the launching of the Committee.