The Macalester Review


Brazil established its first truth commission in November 2011, which seeks to uncover the human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. Although no international treaty or convention explicitly recognizes the right to truth, regional precedent suggests that it is a human rights norm. The Truth Commission faces the following barriers: the Amnesty Law protects perpetrators of human rights violations on either side of the conflict, tensions exist between the Brazilian Supreme Court and the regional human rights court, and politically strong military officials still present in the Brazilian government actively block the Truth Commission’s access to information. This paper reviews academic work on truth commissions and the right to truth, compares the events leading up to the Truth Commissions in Brazil and Argentina, and explore the hurdles to information in order to answer, does Brazil have the right to truth?