Brazil: Civil society requests the Government to take a position on Edward Snowden's asylum

Brazilian and International civil society organizations sign an open letter asking President Dilma Rousseff to position officially on the asylum application made ​​by the whistleblower.

Edward Snowden's Russian temporary visa expires in a few days. Organizations of the Brazilian and international civil society mobilize and sign an open letter addressed to President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, requesting fromthe government an official position on the asylum request made ​​by the whistleblower. A rally will be held at the Ministry of Justice in Brasilia, Wednesday, July 16 at 11am BST to hand the letter to the Minister José Eduardo Carodosz. Brasilia will host the same day, the closing ceremony of the sixth BRICS summit - bringing together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In June 2013 the publication of Edward Snowden's revelations allowed the world to discover and measure the extent of the online surveillance network, set up by the United States, in violation of the right to privacy on Internet and diplomatic norms. Since then, the whistleblower has become the main political enemy of the United States. He now lives in exile in Russia, with a temporary visa that expires on July 31, 2014.

These revelations have affected people around the world in the way they use the Internet, and gave visibility to initiatives promoting democratic practices online. In Brazil, President Dilma Rousseff, herself a victim of NSA's espionage, has severely condemned online mass surveillance during her speech in September 2013 at the UN General Assembly. This position subsequently facilitated the adoption in April 2014 of the "Marco Civil " (fr), and allowed Brazil to host the NETMundial, the world's multi-actor platform for discussion on the construction of a new governance of Internet. Brazil has acquired in a short time a central geopolitical role in the defense of an Internet governance that respects human rights.

Despite all this, Brazil has not yet given any official response to the request of asylum expressed by Edward Snowden almost a year ago. For the signatories of the open letter, which will be handed this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 to the Brazilian Minister of Justice, this lack of response is questionnable, in view of geopolitical aspirations that the country cultivates on the topic of Internet governance, and to the extent that the Minister and Secretary General of the President, Gilberto Carvalho, was committed to clarify the situation.

At the beginning of the year 2014, a petition on the site AVAAZ for Brazil to grant political asylum to Snowden collected more than one million signatures worldwide. The President of Brazil has remained silent. Before Snowden's temporary visa expires in Russia, organizations of civil society mobilize to ask from the Brazilian government a definitive answer. The open letter is available online here.

For more information:

Contact : Florence Poznanski – Head of Brazil Desk, Internet Without Borders: 
(+5531) 8643 3247 (portable) / Twitter : @florencepoz  

Fórum Nacional pela Democratização da Comunicação: (+5561) 3223-3652 (fixe) 

an article about the open letter in Brazil's daily Folha de Sao Paulo   

Press release available in portugues on the website of Fórum Nacional pela Democratização da Comunicação

Mercredi 16 Juillet 2014

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