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Bolsonaro accuses Michelle Bachelet of meddling in the sovereignty of Brazil

The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, accused the head of human rights of the UN, Michelle Bachelet, of meddling in the affairs of his country after the Chilean ex-president criticized an increase in police violence and an erosion of democracy.

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro. / Via REUTERS

Reuters | Stephanie Nebehay y Pedro Fonseca

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Leer en español: Bolsonaro acusa a Michelle Bachelet de entrometerse en la soberanía de Brasil

In comments to journalists in Geneva, Bachelet, a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern about a sharp increase in police violence in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, "together with a public address legitimizing summary executions and an absence of responsibility. "

Bachelet, who was tortured under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet and became the first woman to preside over Chile, said rhetoric could "strengthen impunity and reinforce the message that state agents are above the law and in the practice can kill without accountability. "

He also criticized "a reduction in civic and democratic space" in recent months and attacks on indigenous communities that occur alongside an increase in forest fires in the Amazon.

Bolsonaro, a former right-wing army captain, accused Bachelet of following the example of French President Emmanuel Macron, who led criticism for the rainforest crisis.

"Bachelet (...) follows Macron's line of meddling in internal affairs and the sovereignty of Brazil, " Bolsonaro said in an exchange with the press that was uploaded to Facebook. "It attacks Brazil with the human rights agenda of criminals, attacking our brave civil and military police officers."

Bolsonaro also personally attacked Bachelet, whose father, who was General of the Air Force, remained loyal to the Socialist President Salvador Allende after the 1973 coup d'etat and died in prison.

Read also: Bolsonaro weakens Brazil's environmental agency while fires increase

"(Bachelet) forgets that her country is not Cuba only thanks to those who had the courage to slow down in 1973," according to Bolsonaro. "Among those communists was his father."

The Chilean president, the center-right Sebastián Piñera, said in a brief statement to the press that "everyone has the right to have their own historical judgment on the governments we had in Chile in the 70s and 80s."

However, he added, "I do not share at all the allusion made by President Bolsonaro regarding a former President of Chile and especially on a subject as painful as the death of her father."

Between January and July, the Rio police killed 1,075 people, more than five a day, 20% more than the same period last year and on the way to becoming the highest number since records began in 2003.

His comments precede a new session of the UN General Assembly, where Bolsonaro would speak to world leaders concerned about his policies on the Amazon.

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