Brazil / by Michelle Ryan

On 4 April, the NGO Justiça Global filed an official complaint with the United Nations (UN) against Brazil, citing human rights violations in Rio de Janeiro. On 12 April, the Supreme Court ordered investigations into alleged corruption by 74 more politicians as part of the ongoing Operation Car Wash corruption probe. The controversial labour reform bill, which underwent a ‘watering-down’ on 18 April, passed the Lower House of Congress on 27 April and will now move to the Senate for approval. On 6 April, the Supreme Court banned police from striking in protest of the bill. Cities across Brazil went into partial shutdown as the country experienced a massive general strike on 28 April in protest of the bill. The strike turned violent on the same day. Police union members attempted to gain entry to the Brazilian Congress but were rebuffed by Congressional police. Video from a drug raid on 30 March in which a 13 year old girl was killed by a stray bullet surfaced online on 1 April, showing police officers shooting apparently injured men. Violence between indigenous Brazilians and farmers continued throughout April. A protest by indigenous people on 25 April turned violent, with police utilizing tear gas. On 24 April, the gang PCC committed a $40 million USD robbery on the Brazilian-Paraguayan border. On 17 April, the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht was ordered to pay $2.6 billion USD in fines in order to settle charges that it bribed officials in a dozen countries. Brazil nearly doubled its deficit target for 2018 on 7 April. Data released on 28 April revealed that national unemployment hit a new record high in March. On 13 April, the central bank cut the interest rate by another 100 basis points. Concerns over the labour reform bill have negatively affected the Brazilian economy, with the Bovespa stock index dropping 0.3 per cent on 18 April.