The Clinic argues Marco Feliciano’s election is troubling because of statements about gays and minorities.

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New York, June 20, 2013– Columbia Law School’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic, along with legal clinics from Cornell Law School and the University of Miami School of Law, has written an open letter expressing concern about the recent election of Marco Feliciano as president of the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies’ Human Rights and Minorities Commission (HRMC) because of Feliciano’s anti-gay and racially biased statements.

Led by its president, the HRMC—one of the commissions in the lower house of the Brazilian Congress—acts to safeguard human rights and ensure equal treatment of minorities in Brazil.

The clinics argue in their letter that Feliciano’s election is troubling because he has regularly made public homophobic and racist remarks, including on his Twitter feed.

The clinics assert that the election of a biased president for the HRMC sends the wrong message to the international community, especially in light of Brazil’s recent election to the United Nations Human Rights Council and its corresponding obligations to protect and promote human rights. In recent years, Brazil has made progress in protecting human rights and ensuring equality for all, including LGBT individuals. But Feliciano’s election may take the country a step backwards on these issues.

Read the open letter.

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Note: The opinions of individual faculty members, centers, clinics, and programs, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Law School as an institution.

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The Columbia Law School’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic addresses cutting-edge issues in sexuality and gender law through litigation, legislation, public policy analysis, and other forms of advocacy. Under Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg’s guidance, clinic students have worked on a wide range of projects to serve both individual and organizational clients in cases involving issues of sexuality and gender law.

* Portuguese translation available here

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