August 25

Brazil: Far from the Olympic standard in transparency of arms exports‬‬

By Jefferson Nascimento, Program Officer at Conectas Direitos Humanos



More than five million pistols[1]. This is the equivalent value of weapons exported by Brazil since the Rio de Janeiro was announced as host city of the 2016 Olympics. It was almost $ 2 billion worth of small arms and ammunitions sold by Brazilian companies since 2010, putting Brazil near the podium of the largest exporters of SALW: the country ranked fourth, with international sales totaling nearly $ 3 billion since 2006.

Notwithstanding, Brazil is far from an Olympic performance when it comes to transparency of its arms exports. The country has one of the most secretive export process in the world, appearing in 43th position in Transparency Barometer report of the Small Arms Survey. Its performance is the worst among the major exporters of small arms[2], with the exception of China. This lack of transparency in the arms trade is a relic of the last military dictatorship in the country (1964-1985). The Brazilian exports control policy, called PNEMEN (National Export Policy for Military Equipment), has been applied and updated away from the public eye since 1974.

The ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty in Brazil will be a game-changer in the process to increase transparency in the rising arms transfers carried out by Brazil. The duty to submit periodic and public reports and to establish a clear risk assessment procedure of exports will be key to prevent arms and ammunition manufactured in Brazil to used for human rights violations and practice of atrocity crimes worldwide.

A Brazilian coalition of civil society organizations was created in the beginning of 2015 to monitor the process the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty in Brazil and to raise awareness of national public opinion on the importance of a more transparent and accountable control of arms exports. The Coalition for Responsible Arms Exports – formed by Amnesty International Brazil, Conectas Direitos Humanos, Dhesarme, Igarapé Institute and Instituto Sou da Paz – has been advocating to ensure the ratification of the ATT (currently under analysis of the Legislative branch of Brazil) and national incorporation of the Treaty mechanisms through legislative reform that enshrine transparency in international transfers of Brazilian arms.

Ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty and the the incorporation of its provisions in national law are fundamental steps for Brazil to finally reach an Olympic standard on arms transfers.

[1] Considering the equivalent value of Taurus pistols PT24/7 G2 .40, manufactured in Brazil.

[2] Exporters with international sales exceeding $ 100 million annually.


Jeff Nascimiento is Brazilian lawyer and human rights advocate working with Conectas in promoting human rights and the consolidation of the Rule of Law in the global south. Follow him on Twitter @jnascim