Sarah Cleveland, vice-president of the UN Human Rights Commission, has condemned statements made by Brazilian officials following the UN's determination that the state should “take all necessary measures” to allow Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to “exercise his political rights” as a candidate in the October presidential elections.
Speaking in an interview with swissinfo.ch Cleveland said the measures put forward by the Committee are "legally binding."
"The precautionary measures issued are not recommendations, they are legally binding and impose an international legal obligation on Brazil to fulfill them," she said.
Cleveland went on to say that the Geneva-based commission "has no interest in the results of the elections, only in the right of everyone to participate.”
But warned that “failure to comply with the precautionary measures would mean that Brazil would be violating” international treaties to which it is a signatory.
The UN Human Rights Commission issued the decision on August 17, even though Lula remains in prison on alleged corruption charges, events that many legal experts and observers attribute to lawfare and a salacious mainstream media campaign.
The ruling includes recommendations on the former head of state's right to participate in media events and debates, as well as convene with members of his Workers' Party. The committee also said Lula should not be prevented from participating in the elections until all of his legal appeals have been exhausted, per Brazil's Constitution.
Brazil's Workers' Party (PT) hailed the decision made by the UN.
“It's impossible to hide the violations practiced in Brazil by sectors of the judicial system, in cooperation with Globo (Brazil's largest media conglomerate), the mainstream media and the coup government from the rest of the world. Either comply with the United Nations decision or put Brazil on the list of lawless, undemocratic nations,” PT president, Gleisi Hoffmann, said in a public statement.
Brazil's most extensive public survey and research organization, Datafolha, has revealed that Lula's lead in the presidential race has jumped to 39 percent of likely voters, 20 points ahead of his closest rival, Rio de Janeiro congressman Jair Bolsonaro.
Lula has topped every 2018 electoral poll conducted by Vox Populi, Ibope, Datafolha, Data Poder 360, Instituto Parana, the National Confederation of Transportation/MDA and Ipsos. His two terms in office were marked by a slew of social programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty and removing the country from the United Nations World Hunger Map. He left office with a record approval rating of 83 percent in 2011, according to Datafolha.