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Will whole truth be told?

Docklands campus

Many countries which have set up truth commissions have not carried out all their recommendations, and there is a fear that Brazil might follow suit, a UEL academic has told BBC World News.

Chandra Lekha Sriram, Professor of International Law and International Relations, made this claim while discussing the release of a report by the Brazilian Truth Commission.

The report is the first government-run inquiry into abuses which took place during Brazil’s military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985. The Commission confirmed that 191 people were killed while 243 people ‘disappeared’ under military rule. Over 200 people have never been found.

“It is unclear how great the significance of this Commission will be for Brazil, given the passage of time during which significant details have already been made public, the fact that some reparations have been provided to victims, and the progress in democratisation in the country, however halting,” Professor Sriram said.

The report named 377 officials who were blamed for gross human rights violations and has recommended that an amnesty law be revised so that perpetrators can still be prosecuted.

Professor Sriram, who is also the Co-director for UEL’s Centre on Human Rights in Conflict, said that it is noteworthy that the current Brazilian president was herself a victim of torture and has received reparations.

“However, as with many other Commissions, the acknowledgment by the government of its own responsibility and their victimhood can be satisfying to some victims,” said Professor Sriram. “The report might also reinforce demands for reform of the notoriously abusive security forces.”

Professor Sriram joined UEL as its inaugural Professor of Human Rights. She then founded and directed the Centre on Human Rights in Conflict. She has written three books, edited a further nine and published over 100 articles and essays on post-atrocity justice, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. She has a PhD in Politics from Princeton University, a JD from the University of California-Berkeley, a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago.

Notes to Editors

The University of East London (UEL) is a global learning community with students from over 120 countries world-wide. Our vision is to achieve recognition, both nationally and internationally, as a successful and inclusive regional university proud of its diversity, committed to new modes of learning which focus on students and enhance their employability, and renowned for our contribution to social, cultural and economic development, especially through our research and scholarship. We have a strong track-record in widening participation and working with industry.