United Nations tells Brazil to let Lula stand for President

The United Nations Human Rights Committee today directed Brazil to allow Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva his democratic right to stand for President, although he is in jail to campaign through the media like other candidates.

Its decision breaks the impasse caused by a judge who has insisted that Lula remains in prison without access to the media before his final appeal being heard and prevents him from being disqualified before his conviction is heard by the Supreme Court. 

Even while in confinement he is leading in the polls ahead of a far-right candidate described as “Brazil’s Trump”.

The UNHRC granted Interim Measures - a power it rarely uses - on the grounds that his treatment would otherwise cause “irreparable harm” by stopping him from standing in a democratic election. It said that he must be allowed to exercise his political rights from prison and must not be debarred from standing for president unless or until his conviction is affirmed at a fair appeal hearing.

Geoffrey Robertson the British Queen’s Council (QC) who presented the case to the UN said:

“This is a most welcome decision which demonstrates how human rights law can assist the democratic process. Lula has been convicted by a hostile judge in what in my view was a trumped up charge. He has been kept in virtual solidarity confinement so he could not campaign and was likely to be disqualified on the grounds of his conviction before he could have it overturned on final appeal.

Today’s decision means that the people of Brazil, not biased judges, will decide who they want as their next president.”