A cooperação entre a AMI e o Brasil: situações e emergências

The cooperation between AMI and Brazil: situations and urgencies

Marco António Baptista Martins Tânia Sofia Libório Sobre os autores

Resumo

Em uma era global, em que a riqueza e a pobreza interagem por meio das suas potencialidades e vulnerabilidades, enfrenta-se com convicção essa disparidade em nome da cooperação em prol do desenvolvimento sustentável. Neste sentido, as Organizações Não Governamentais (ONGs) possuem um papel promotor para apoiar o desenvolvimento, na medida em que a Fundação de Assistência Médica Internacional (AMI) atua e coopera no desenvolvimento local e comunitário, conduzindo ao progresso do município.

Palavras-chave:
cooperação; AMI;voluntariado; direitos humanos; política externa

Abstract

In a global era, where richness and poverty interact, shining through their potentials and vulnerabilities, the conviction to face that diversity emerges through cooperation in behalf of the sustainable development. The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have a promoting role to support the development, insofar International Medical Assistance (AMI) acts and cooperates in local and in community development, leading the county’s improvement.

Keywords:
cooperation; AMI; volunteering; human rights; foreign policy

How can our spirits remain unconcerned before the abused human rights, facing indifference, intolerance, the lack of will to act, without doing something for the others and for us? How can we just assume a passive attitude in the face of the changes that break out daily in our society and in our world? If we question ourselves about all these issues, the idea of a global humanitarian action and the challenges that it involves compels us to act in a convincing and hopeful way, through active volunteering, towards a new order in our society.

Nowadays, it’s arguable that volunteering constitutes one of the basic criterions that define not only the individual human evolution but also the own development of a nation. Volunteering allows us to quantitatively broaden the horizons of our founding activity, releasing the financial means and reinforcing human resources, as well as strengthening and notifying qualitatively the actions and messages close to the civil society.

Not only the founding activity has a lot to gain if it knows how to attract and educate responsible volunteering, creating mixed human enterprises, with paid professionals and volunteers, but also the society itself will win, because it will be seen as an open organization, incorporated in society and concerned about testimonies regarding their expectations and needs (Nobre, 2010______. Gritos contra a indiferença. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2010. NOYA, J. Diplomacia pública para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Real Instituto Elcano, 2007., p.18-19).

Thus, we intend to reflect on the importance of volunteering in the cooperation between International Medical Assistance (AMI) and Brazil, in its different perspectives, promoting the development of fragile and needy societies.

The perception of volunteering in the XXI century

The volunteering, if motivated and reliable, will constitute one of the pillars to achieve our goals that, although diverse, seek a positive evolution in the world, having the man and its ecosystem as the centre of our concerns. In this way, volunteering is considered essential (Nobre, 2010______. Gritos contra a indiferença. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2010. NOYA, J. Diplomacia pública para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Real Instituto Elcano, 2007., p.20). The study object of this article consists in analysing the importance of volunteering, the situations and everchanging challenges in this world of constant mutations and instability, specifically in what concerns Brazil, fighting for a global solidarity citizenship that germinates in all societies and communities.

Thus, regarding Brazilian external politics for the human rights, Brazil presents itself as a country open to the world, willing to cooperate and to debate its strong and weak points. The Federal Constitution determines the prevalence of human rights as one of the principles that should rule international relations in Brazil. So Brazil held, between 2013 and 2015, the third warrant in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in which this entity has been working for the strengthening of the UNHRC and emphasizes the non-politicization and non-selectiveness: to fight against all ways of discrimination and for the right to health, as well as the expansion of the cooperation between countries in the combat versus transnational abuses and for the interchange of successful experiences (UNHRC, 2015). Brazil participates in the works of Organization of American States and specifically in the Inter-American Human Rights System. The participation in the system brought progresses in the treatment of critical questions in areas such as public safety, fight against racism and slave work, and prevention of violence against women (Brasil,2015b).

In recent years, the health area has been gaining more coverage and visibility in the global era agenda. During this period, Brazil’s prominence grew in the debates of World Health Organization (WHO), in the United Nations for the HIV/Aids and in other forums. Brazil’s performance was essential so that the health international agenda embodied, amongst their central conversations, the prevention and treatments of non-contagious chronic diseases, the health social determinant and the health systems universalization (Brasil, 2015c).

With effect, Brazil receives technical cooperation given by other countries or international organizations in order to obtain access to knowledge and practices not yet mastered by its institutions - especially in areas of social development, sustainability and effectiveness in public management. As a virtue of the actual economic development level of this country, most projects resulting from these collaborations are financed by national institutions (Brasil, 2015a).

The level of educational cooperation is a political instrument to promote the approach between governments, by means of their societies. Furthermore, the contact with other cultures, foreign languages learning and experience exchanges lead to the creation of an environment of integration and mutual knowledge, providing grojs greater understanding, diversity respect and tolerance (Brasil, 2015a).

It’s important to enhance that, traditionally, the concept of public diplomacy was associated with the image promotion of a country abroad. In Brazil’s specific case, public diplomacy has been spread not only in that traditional sense, but also in the bigger overture of the Ministry of External Relations (MRE) and of the Brazilian external politics to the civil society, in a democratization effort and a national public transparency policy, reminding Woodrow Wilson who, on 18th January, 1918, presented the The 14 points of Wilson, here emphasizing the first one, bearing in mind the concept of secret diplomacy: to sign peace pacts, after which there shouldn’t be secret diplomatic agreements, but honest diplomacy and in the public eye (UFMG, 2009).

Conceived as public policy, the external policy should, on one hand, honour the populations’ yearnings and target national interests; on the other hand, external policies should also be inclusive, democratic and participative (Brasil, 2015b). External policies focused on human rights are an important tool for the projection of the Brazilian values in the world. The intermingling between this external and internal dimension is consecrated in the Federal Constitution itself, whose article 5th, 2nd establishes that the acknowledged rights for Brazil in human right treaties are added to the rights and warranties in it consecrated. For Brazil, the human rights are universal and should be fully respected. The exacerbation of the migration problem in the world is a clear example of indivisibility of human rights. The structural cause of that phenomenon is the poverty and the huge asymmetries between the development levels amongst nations (IPRI, 2016, p.26-28).

It’s precisely by considering that all the countries in the world face challenges in terms of human rights and that protection of such rights should focus on the effective improvement of the specific situation of individuals and groups that Brazil defends the treatment of non-selectiveness and non-politicization of the theme. Brazil also supports cooperation and dialogue with other nations in a bilateral, regional and multilateral scope. Brazil aspires a balanced system in which the international system of human rights serves exclusively its purpose of promoting tangible changes that may benefit specifically all individuals and affected groups, and not to political purposes that are strange to them and even harmful (IPRI, 2016,p.27).

The Brazilian government register the adoption, on July 2nd, with satisfaction and consensus, by the UNHRC in Geneva, of the resolution of Brazilian initiative about the incompatibility between democracy and racism. The resolution reaffirms that racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and associated intolerances abuse the human rights and are inconsistent with democracy, the constitutional State and a transparent and trustworthy governance (IPRI, 2016, p.28). In this perspective, AMI intervenes in bringing humanitarian aid and promoting humane, sustainable development, and the human being at the centre of all concerns, whether through emergency missions, development of local nature in support of local communities or through joint adventure missions (AMI, 2015b). Although Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are free to express their views, they cannot always express the interests of the population or part of it. Any weight given to the opinion of a NGO shall be considered by other organizations and sectors not organized as a society.

NGOs become, in many cases, extensions of external Western countries policies. This was seen more clearly in contexts such as Afghanistan, where many NGOs supported and were part of that stabilization of activities led by the United States after the United States invasion in 2001. However, the distribution of power is shifting. Western hegemon is undoubtedly in decline and potencies such as Brazil, India and China are getting more and more space in the geopolitical scenario. From an analysis of the voting patterns of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in the United Nations, Ferdinand confirmed that the most prominent division between the North and the global South concerns development issues. Ferdinand notes that the BRICS countries never assume divergent positions on these issues, although there is a greater group cohesion among India/Brazil/South Africa (Ferdinand, 2014, p.388).

Thus, what has been the relationship between humanitarian action and the Western power and how the change of power will impact the future of humanitarian aid? Joseph Nye developed a useful model for understanding the current global power structures. He refers to the current dynamics of power as, according to Nye, a “three-dimensional chess game”. Based on three-dimensional chess board concept, this analysis of the relationship between humanitarian aid and political power will refer to the three existing power structures as unipolar/ unipolar West; undefined multipolar powers (re)emerging; and diffuse power. In fact, the gaps in humanitarian responses are given, at least in part, due to the political choices of many aid organizations working with a wide range of objectives - promoting peace and stability, building State institutions and providing assistance to save lives (Nye, 2011, p.213).

Thus, AMI operates and assumes the international field, through the defense of four principles: humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, thereby it meets and supports not only the Millennium Development Goals, but also acts aimed at defending the human rights; it is extremely important that there is a fair and balanced society, and, if possible, based on three fundamental pillars: a legitimate, balanced and stimulating State; a ethical and socially responsible market (economic strength); and a civil society engaged in an active and conscious citizenship, so there may be improvements improvements and a reversal in the curve in which we find ourselves and the trends that govern it (Nobre, 2009NOBRE, F. Humanidade - despertar para a cidadania global e solidária. 2. ed. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2009., p.19).

What Adriano Moreira qualified as the growing complexity law in the international relations is accompanied by an equally growing complexity in polis reconstruction. There are divergences and convergences that are only supplanted, not by the eclecticism or by synthesis, but only by what Teilhard de Chardin qualified as emergency, that energy that throws up and inside, towards a more complex and more centred State. According to Adriano Moreira, there are globalist convergence movements at the same time that divergence and dispersion processes are accelerated and, from that complexity, new political shapes appear, ranging from a huge political space to the supranational organs of dialogue, cooperation and decision. The convergence, the globalism of the political phenomenon is seen in the march for the world’s unity, where problems like starvation, demographic explosion and the taming of the atomic energy are all inseparable. The divergence is seen in the multiplication of international relations. If, on the one hand, it’s observed a quantitative multiplication (increase of contacts through old ways) and a qualitative multiplication (new ways of initiating contacts) of the international relations, on the other hand there is also a proliferation of decision centres which is seen in the increase of the State numbers (around 200), in the appearing of new supra-state entities, as well as the apparition of NGOs as a result of the internationalization of the private life (Maltez, 2003).

The functionalist perspective of volunteering

The functionalism is strongly connected with the name of David Mitrany, specifically to a 1943 monograph entitled A Working Peace System and to the creation of the functional agencies system of United Nations in the post Second War (Mitrany, 1975). A strongly normative agenda proposed that a group of transnational organizations, with functional basis, could compel external politics of the States and, in last instance, avoid war. The author established a clear connection between functional cooperation and international security. In this way, cooperation habits would be constituted in technical areas, in the economic and social sphere, in which the common interest may easily emerge. Later, the interaction habit, the common values construction and institutions allowed the cooperation practice to overflow into the political arena. The construction of a political community less specific than Nation-State, from a process of collective learning and technical administration, would be the fundament of the peace system. Two complementary evaluations are present here. On one hand, the cooperation possibility would increase when the nature of the problem to be faced would impose the coordination of politics between sections. On the other hand, the coordination in these action spheres of the State would not represent a frontal threat to the sovereignty and wouldn’t have implications into the autonomous formulations of external politics aimed at the “national interest” (Herz and Hoffmann, 2004HERZ, M.; HOFFMANN, A. R. Organizações internacionais - história e práticas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2004., p.58-59).

The concern with the war causes, central to the literature of international relations, is present here in an oriented version for social questions. Armed conflicts are connected with social problems such as: poverty, starvation, diseases and low educational level. The experts that work in the international organizations are the central actors and the main agents of the learning process of cooperation, which may overflow from the technical areas into the political arena. Still, it is open the possibility to think about the interaction process between specific governmental agencies, instead of basing only from the interaction between States as closed units (Herz and Hoffmann, 2004HERZ, M.; HOFFMANN, A. R. Organizações internacionais - história e práticas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2004., p.60).

Volunteering appears as a fundamental actor in the field of cooperation between countries, and it establishes connections between communities, between ways to be, to think and to perform in a huge organization network throughout the world. The idea to associate authority exercise to functionally defined agents, in clear opposition to the principle that rules the contemporary international system which associates authority to a defined territory, is quite innovative (Herz and Hoffmann, 2004HERZ, M.; HOFFMANN, A. R. Organizações internacionais - história e práticas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2004., p.135).

In the case of functional cooperation, the functional organizations represent the highest degree of institutionalization, from a continuous that starts in the ad hoc diplomatic cooperation initiatives and goes through the international regimes. The founders of the League of Nations imparted an important role to functional cooperation. Functional organizations should contribute to the world organization in times of peace (Herz and Hoffmann, 2004HERZ, M.; HOFFMANN, A. R. Organizações internacionais - história e práticas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2004., p.135).The concept of functional cooperation gains a new connotation in that time, under the development influence of the functionalist perspective, by David Mitrany. A mark for this discussion was Joseph Nye, the most ambitious author in the soft power theory and in the analysis of this perspective in the international scenario, once it opposes hard power, which is based on coercion, whether physical or economical, while the soft power is founded on influence and legitimacy attained through attraction and seduction.The author highlights that there is an indirect way of exerting power. A country may obtain the results it seeks because other countries want to follow their example, admiring their values, aspiring to such level of prosperity and overture. The soft power notion embraces two very distinct abilities: the ability to attract and to seduce; and the ability to configure ideological preferences (Noya, 2007NOYA, J. Diplomacia pública para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Real Instituto Elcano, 2007., p.131-135).

Global public opinion states the appreciation of pacifism and humanitarianism, which is translated in the valorization of NGOs and, as Nye claimed, NGOs have their own soft power. They act as a global conscience representing wide general interests, more than the individual States. According to Nye, the soft power is due, in some part, to the new information and communication technologies, that allow broadening the scope of campaigns and easily mobilize sympathizers. Thus, public diplomacy must also necessarily count on NGOs, first because they awaken less distrust than governments, and second because their structures allow them to have a reliable knowledge of the local needs and realities (Noya, 2007NOYA, J. Diplomacia pública para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Real Instituto Elcano, 2007., p.363-364).

Volunteering and globalization

The formation of a global world stirred the conscience of a common destiny to all mankind. Mankind may mean the characteristic, or the group of characteristics, namely biological and anthropological, that allow entitling an individual with the classification of “human”. Mankind may also mean the totality of the human gender, the group of all human beings that live in the planet. In this context, it will be determinant for the analysis of the theme of common world heritage, as well as imperative the reference of the two identity characteristics, namely, the trans spatiality of this mankind beyond flags and borders. The planet absorbs all the mankind and in it the concept of common heritage is perceived with universal and egalitarian function. (Santos, 2001SANTOS, V. M. A humanidade e o seu património: reflexões contextuais sobre conceptualidade evolutiva e dinâmica operatória em teoria das relações internacionais. Lisboa: Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, 2001., p.69-70).

The globalization and its different processes enabled interconnection spaces between people belonging to different points of the planet. The interaction between human beings reached planetary dimensions, articulating itself on multiple and heterogeneous scopes. The desperation takes place not only because the dominant economic system of neo-liberalism excludes and rejects millions of people in its functioning logic, but also because there is a great number of conflicts and different nature catastrophes, increased climate disturbances in the international community, and multiple humanitarian crisis with their dramatic sequels of human tragedies and victims. Great part of these situations provoked serious and systematic abuses of the human rights (Carrasco, 1997CARRASCO, M. C. M. La asistencia humanitaria en el derecho internacional contemporáneo. Sevilha: Universidad de Sevilla, 1997., p.81-82).

Nowadays, Syria’s case is an example of this situation, namely Madaya’s city in which starvation became a war weapon. Besides starvation, the lack of medicines aggravates critical cases. The starvation became a weapon of war in a conflict that, after almost five years, already caused over 260,000 deaths. The Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, only 2 kilometres away from the Syrian capital, became the first scenario of a starvation war. In 2014, hundreds of people died of hunger or of medical problems due to malnourishment. It’s a war strategy used in the XXI century, which violates all the international agreements, and which goal is to kill the enemy through starvation, without firing a single bullet, even if that means dragging civilians to the grave. According to the United Nations, their help teams can’t have access to the 4.5 million Syrians, amongst which 400,000 people who are besieged by both sides in 15 villages. Among them are three neighbouring territories of the Islamic State (IS), where no humanitarian help train has ever entered after more than ten months of lock out (Sancha, 2016SANCHA, N. Madaya, cidade síria marcada pela “guerra da fome”, finalmente recebe alimentos. El País, 12 jan. 2016. Available at: <Available at: http://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2016/01/12/ internacional/1452595053_530751.html >. Accessed: 10 Jan. 2016.
http://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2016/01/...
).

It must be clear what constitutes international humanitarian law, we can say that this branch of law is the set of principles and rules that limit the use of violence in armed conflicts, and whose objectives are: to protect people who do not participate directly in hostilities or who have already given up on it, the wounded, shipwrecked, war and civilian prisoners; and to limit the effects of violence in the struggle to achieve the goals of the conflict.

The evolution of international law on the protection of war victims and war approach was deeply affected by the development of legal protection standards on human rights after the Second World War. However, in time of war or in cases of exceptional public danger, the enjoyment of certain human rights may be limited in special circumstances. Article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights allows States to adopt temporary measures derogating from its obligations under pacts “in times of public emergency which threatens the nation’s existence, but only when strictly required by the situation” (United Nations, 2015, p. 10). Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights contains a similar provision. Every year the Sub-Commission for the Fight against Discrimination and Protection of Minorities examines the States of exception and respect for human rights during such situations. However, the need to protect human rights even in wartime has been fully recognized. Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions on International Humanitarian Law of 1949 states that, in the event of armed conflict, peoples protected by the conventions shall “in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any similar criteria”(ICRC, 1949, p. 91).

Being AMI a NGO which prioritizes medical assistance and protection of the human rights, it is important to define that the recognition of health as a human right in the International Right was formalized with the adoption, by the General Assembly of the United Nations, of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), on December 19th, 1966. With effect, article 12th of the ICESCR was positive for the right to health, while its article 2nd recognized the international cooperation as an instrument so that the whole efficiency of the aforementioned recognized rights is attained (UNHRC, 2015). Besides the international law, the constitutional law also recognizes the right to health. More and more, countries can’t be separated from the international community, in a way that the national concert tends to be an element of the State of Right itself (Canotilho, 2001CANOTILHO, J. J. G. Direito constitucional e teoria da constituição. 4. ed. Coimbra: Almedina, 2001., p.22).

The constitutional overture for the international order doesn’t mean the overture to any order, but for peace and human rights orders, which, by that reason, can’t stop having a universal pretension. In this case, the concept of sovereignty, as understood by Jean Bodin, mentions that the sovereign power should be different from other powers existent in the society just by possessing it, bearer of certain exclusive rights. He characterizes sovereignty: “when the command is well build, none of the rights in question is given to the judges, except in societies that requires immediate attention” (Barros, 1996BARROS, A. R. O conceito de soberania no methodus de Jean Bodin. Dircurso, v. 27, p. 139-155, 1996.). The division of sovereignty, according to Bodin, is absurd because the separation of his own rights would result in self-destruction. His main argument is based in the simple observation that, if sovereignty is distributed in various parts of society, the power of command will disappear and the result can only be anarchy. In his conception, all social groups should respond in only one voice of command, a unique centre of power that detains certain rights and is superior to any other (ibidem, p.143-145). This implies to recognize the international cooperation not just as a political instrument of international relations, but as a legal mechanism of effectiveness of rights. That interpretation empowers a qualitative leap in the human rights (Torronteguy, 2010, p.59-60).

In this sense, the broad designation of international organizations covers two distinct realities that represent various actors on the international scenario: the actual international organizations, commonly called intergovernmental organizations and other transnational forces among which NGOs loom large. Some of these NGOs, although the national law of the State in whose jurisdiction doesn’t benefit only the internal recognition, which gives them a semi-official character sui generis, that is variable from case to case, besides an international status to them that enable dialogue and establish various forms of relationship with the States and international intergovernmental organizations in the performance of tasks that may be considered of international public interest, as is the case of AMI. NGOs are associations formed by subjects of national law, of different nationalities, for the realization of the most diverse purposes. In 1950, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations defined them as “any international organization that is not created by intergovernmental agreement”, or we would need an international legal act (Campo, 1999CAMPO, J. M. (Coord.). Organizações internacionais - teoria geral, estudo monográfico das principais organizações internacionais de que Portugal é membro. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1999.). NGOs can be grouped into several categories; AMI is integrated into humanitarian purpose (ibidem, p.23-24.)

Most of the international organizations we met were instituted after the expiry of the Second World War in 1945; some, however - with a relevant role in international life and expressing refined forms of institutionalized cooperation between States -were created between the two World Wars (League of Nations, International Labour Organization); others, still of the utmost importance, emerged during the second half of the XIX century. In the early XIX century, more precisely in 1815, arises the first modern international organization of regional nature, empowered to act in a particular area. It is a question of reflecting on the role that international organizations play in modern international relations, given the growing interdependence of States and peoples in various fields of human activity. Virtually all areas in which cooperation may be considered necessary are currently subject to specific international organizations.

They were created to pursue specific goals or objectives of common interest to its members, and are means or instruments that Member States rely upon to pursue common objectives that otherwise would have been more difficult to achieve; they exist because of the express will of its creators to accomplish these goals and not by others that Member States didn’t put in charge. The definition of objectives, purposes and missions of an international organization is of fundamental legal importance as it permits to delimit with the necessary rigor its competence and also establish more securely the meaning and scope of the texts that govern it (Campo, 1999CAMPO, J. M. (Coord.). Organizações internacionais - teoria geral, estudo monográfico das principais organizações internacionais de que Portugal é membro. Lisboa: Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, 1999., p.29-33).

Furthermore, the international system of international cooperation for the development has the following characteristics: a) discretionary, because the States are not coerced to offer resources to cooperate with the development; b) plural, because there are many cooperating actors, who perform in distinctive ways; c) specialized, having cooperant actors who are devoted to specific themes; and d) decentralized, as a result of the inexistence of a central power which regulates the cooperation in the international plan (Ayllón, 2007AYLLÓN, B. La cooperación internacional para el desarrollo: fundamentos y justificaciones en la perspectiva de la teoria de las relaciones internacionales. Carta Internacional, v. 2, n. 2, out. 2007., p.32-47). The international cooperation may be noticed as an instrument, still in construction, for the effectiveness of rights and diminishment of global differences (Lopes, 2005LOPES, C. Cooperação e desenvolvimento humano: a agenda emergente para o novo milénio. São Paulo: Unesp, 2005., p.47). Health is a right whose content should be defined for each community and, for that reason, it is never a finished concept (Dallari, 2008DALLARI, S. G. O conteúdo do direito à saúde. In: SOUSA JÚNIOR, J. G. et al. (Orgs.). O direito achado na rua: introdução crítica ao direito à saúde. Brasília: UnB, 2008., p.91-101). Social rights, such as the right to health, are no longer seen as simple programmatic rules. Contemporary literature recognizes the demand and the legality of those rights and overcomes the false dichotomy between individuals and social rights (Abramovich and Courtis, 2002ABRAMOVICH, V.; COURTIS, C. Los derechos sociales como derechos exigibles. Madrid: Trotta, 2002., p.169).

In the last decades, human rights have been asserted as an attempt of consensus around minimal patterns of law protection. Its contested universality only strengthens itself as it becomes flexible before the recognition of the value of multiculturalism. It’s important to see that the Universal Declaration of 1948 was legitimized by 48 countries of a still colonial world, while the Vienna Declaration of 1993 counted on the acceptance of almost 200 States (Alves, 2003ALVES, J. A. Os direitos humanos como tema global. São Paulo: Perspectiva, 2003., p.38). Side by side with that conceptual evolution, there has been a consolidation of international decision forums concerned with the effectiveness of those rights; we see the existence of regional systems of human rights protection in African, American, and European continents, as well as the transformation of the Commission into Council of the Human Rights of the United Nations and the creation of the International Penal Court (Piovesan, 2006PIOVESAN, F. Direitos humanos e justiça internacional: um estudo comparativo dos sistemas regionais europeu, interamericano e africano. São Paulo: Saraiva, 2006., p.45).

The States commit themselves to grant rights to their citizens, such as the case of the right to health, but also compromise themselves to act together with other nations, in which the role of the volunteers is the main foundation for the development. In this way and from the Brazilian perspective, the model changes of the Brazilian external politics were boosted by the emergence of new structuring ways of the international economy, in the phase known as globalization. From 1990, the international relations seemed to be being replaced by new ways of structuring of international society. As the theory of interdependence suggests, soft themes become more important in the international arena (Keohane and Nye, 1989KEOHANE, R. O.; NYE, J. S. Power and interdependence. Boston: Scott Foresman and Company, 1989., p.16). That means that the relative importance of each country would start to be measured less by its military or strategic importance, and more by its economic, commercial, scientific or cultural projection (Abdnur, 1994ABDNUR, R. A política externa brasileira e o sentimento de exclusão. In: FONSECA JR., G.; CASTRO, S. H. N. (Orgs.). Temas de política externa brasileira II. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 1994. v. 1., p.3).

Brazil starts the XXI century as a country whose main goals of internal development are in consonance with the values that are spread and became universal in the international level. The entry will become a benefit, once in a globalized world, unavoidable in the contemporary history; the same system who imposes a setback works, in a long-term, in our favour, provided that the country has the competence to transform the external opportunities into internal benefits (Cardoso, 2000CARDOSO, F. H. Palestra do senhor presidente da República, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, no Centro Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (Cebri). Rio de Janeiro: Cebri, 2000., p. 3-6). In this sense, and just as the president Dilma Rousseff says:

our sovereign insertion in the international politics will continue being marked by the defense of the democracy, by the principle of non-intervention and respect to a nations’ sovereignty, for the negotiated solution of conflicts, for the defense of the human rights, for the fight against poverty and inequalities, for the preservation of the environment and for the multilateralism (Rousseff, 2016ROUSSEFF, D. IPRI - Repertório de Política Externa. Brasília: Funag; Congresso Nacional, 2016.).

Brazil will continue to exercise its role of global actor, because this role corresponds to its reality and to the deep aspirations of its people. The external relations constitute a fundamental field to reach national development seen in a wider sense, concepts of economic growth, social justice, respect for human rights, access to education, to basic needs and the right to a worthy job are conjugated (Rousseff, 2016ROUSSEFF, D. IPRI - Repertório de Política Externa. Brasília: Funag; Congresso Nacional, 2016., p.14-15).

In behalf of a solidary global citizenship

One of the most paradigmatic social phenomenon of the second half of the XX century was the express will to be a part of the worldwide civil society of wanting to be active, or even determinant, in the resolution of serious problems that affect mankind. From the second half of the XX century, a new movement appeared, one with a fresh and globalizing vision that have as final, and hopeful, goal the implementation of a solidarity global citizenship.

NGOs, through their specific actions with people from all over the world both in the human rights domain and in the environmental and humanitarian area, became aware of the harmful effects of the ongoing globalization that impacts the majority of the worldwide population; they were organizing themselves in a global movement of awareness of the public opinion. By bringing for the common citizen the catastrophic situation that they were witnessing in the places of intervention, they intended to make the human being, independent of its location, seeable as an equal of flesh and blood, worthy of attention (Nobre, 2009NOBRE, F. Humanidade - despertar para a cidadania global e solidária. 2. ed. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2009., p. 121-122).

Nowadays it is found the biggest challenge of the movement of global civil society: how to organize and coordinate with the goal of implementing essential force-ideas in the world, such as the effective respect of human rights, the implementation of more equality and social justice, and even the symbolic taxing of global financial flows (Nobre, 2009NOBRE, F. Humanidade - despertar para a cidadania global e solidária. 2. ed. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2009., p.124).

The idea of a civil society or State is born in contrast to a primitive state of mankind in which man lived with no other laws, but the natural ones. It implies an area of civility, in which prevails the constitutional State, a political community and a peaceful order based on explicit or implicit consent of individuals that participate in it. Civil society is born, therefore, with the institution of a common Power that is only able to assure to the associated individuals some essential rights such as peace, liberty, property and safety, which, in the natural state, are constantly threatened by the explosion of conflicts, whose solution is trusted exclusively to the self-guardianship.The global civil society concerns itself with the space of performance and thought occupied by citizens’ initiatives, individual or collective, of volunteer character and non-profitable (Herz and Hoffmann, 2004HERZ, M.; HOFFMANN, A. R. Organizações internacionais - história e práticas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Campus, 2004., p.223-225).

One might say that nowadays the NGOs world community holds an important significance for mankind and that, without their intervention, maybe we would have already sunk into geopolitical chaos, and considering the alert of Ignacio Ramonet, in Géopolitique du Chaos (Ramonet, 1999RAMONET, I. Geopolítica do caos. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1999.), according to whom the hierarchy of the States which is drawn in the world is based less on military power and more on the mental ability to grasp the merge of mutation and technological innovations and take advantage of the new market mechanisms.The awakening and mobilization of the world civil society, through their NGOs legitimized by their populations, is undergoing, very slowly, a mentality change: a new model of society is starting to arise. This new model is filled with positive spirituality, as an opposition to the exaggerated mercantilism and materialism that still prevails in the ruling governative doctrine in the world (Nobre, 2009NOBRE, F. Humanidade - despertar para a cidadania global e solidária. 2. ed. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2009., p.132).

If the worldwide civil society contributes for that change of the mental model, it would have done something remarkable: give hope to mankind. This is the challenge, maybe impossible for some, that the global citizens and AMI have decided to accept.

AMI’s challenges in Brazil: amongst realities and utopias

The relations between Brazil and Portugal go beyond the historical dimension. There is a mutual interest in asserting bilateral political capital to create and deepen the commerce and investments flows and to give rise to new partnerships in the scientific, technologic, cultural and educational fields. The educational exchange between Brazil and Portugal is one of the oldest, in centuries of shared history (Brasil, 2015a).The called sentimental axis contains the relations of Brazil with Portugal, and it is characterized by the strong sympathy component between peoples, the primary cultural identity and the great contingents of immigrants of origin, but present few fulfilment possibilities of economic interests (Lessa, 1998LESSA, A. C. A diplomacia universalista do Brasil: a construção do sistema contemporâneo de relações bilaterais. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, v. 41, 1998. Available at: <Available at: http:// www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-73291998000300003&lng=en&nrm=iso >. Accessed: 11 Jan. 2016.
http:// www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=...
). The internationalization created challenges, some of them very healthy, of efficiency, competitiveness, but also, in the external front, of fight against protectionism and power asymmetries in the definition and application of international rules of commerce. The globalization, therefore, has been favourable to Brazil, but its distortions, its excesses, especially in the financial area, generate serious problems which no country in the world, no matter how powerful, may judge to be immune.

From the second half of the 1990s, volunteering assumed new configurations in the face of the worsening of the Brazilian social issue. The relationship built in the 1990s between the voluntary construction process and management reform of the State, especially in the sphere of the guarantee of social rights linked to the motivations itself that lead to voluntary, is appropriated by the capitalist logic. This relationship leads to the point where there is the naturalization of social processes in which the manifestations of the social question, considered eternal and historical, have their results given in order to mitigate them, emphasizing the moralizing and pragmatic character of voluntary actions (Carrion, 2000CARRION, R. M. Organizações privadas sem fins lucrativos - a participação do mercado no terceiro setor. Tempo Social, São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 237-255, 2000.).

Just like Celso Lafer claims about the crisis of the human rights, the totalitarianism represents a proposal of a society organization that seeks the total domination of the individuals, embodying in this way the rupture process with the tradition. The “everything is possible” motto in the totalitarianism dynamics stems from the assumption that human beings are superfluous. The value of the human person as an historic-axiological conquest encounters its legal expression in man’s fundamental rights. In the contemporary world still persist social, political, economic situations that contribute to make man superfluous and, therefore, with no place in the world. By that reason, the inter-relationship of the rupture theme with the human rights crisis is still in the agenda. The value given to the human person, fundamental for the human rights, is an integral part of tradition, which was broken with the disruption of the totalitarian phenomenon (Lafer, 1988, p.117-118).

The basic data of the Brazilian international presence - democracy and economic stability - are translated into a bigger external credibility. The actual moment of world history demands, however, that the national choices must be carried out within the political, economic, social and environmental settings predominant in the international environment and correspond, generally, to the values and citizens’ desires. The relation of Vieira de Mello with the human rights has evolved in the same way as his vision of justice, but took longer. Workers of humanitarian help who reported abuses of human rights were, many times, prevented to have access to the ones in need, what made them to keep quiet so that they wouldn’t be expelled by abusive or armed governments.

But when he took on the position of High Commissioner of the UNHCR, he started to see human rights as a vehicle to alleviate relationships between States. With the human rights and the international law pervaded everywhere, Vieira de Mello understood that the preservation of the global order demanded that the international rules became equally mandatory for the lead State or non-State characters. Vieira de Mello fought with inherent dilemmas to the conquest of respect for those rights, considering that the international system would be quite effective and humane if it also focused on dignity - of the individuals, the communities and entire nations.Vieira de Mello once said: “the future should be invented” (Power, 2008POWER, S. O homem que queria salvar o mundo. Uma biografia de Sérgio Vieira de Mello. Alfragide: Casa das Letras, 2008.). With the apparent increase of irrationality and anger in a world more and more connected, a better future could be invented if citizens and governments paid attention to the key-lessons of the long career of Vieira de Mello: the legitimacy, which is important, stems from the authority or legal consent from the competent enforcement; saboteurs, outlawed states and non-states revolutionaries should be involved, even if it is to be evaluated and neutralized; the victims of fear have to receive more safety; the dignity is the pillar of order; we foreigners should deal with humility and patience in foreign lands (ibidem, p.534-542). That autonomy depends on several elements, among which a critical dimension in the international relationship. For Brazil, where development and changes, especially regarding social reality, are the bigger goals, it is understandable that Brazil do not want a conservative role in the world, but rather a transformative participation.

Being AMI a private, independent, non-political and non-profitable Portuguese NGO, since its foundation it has been assuming itself as a new humanitarian organization in Portugal, whose purpose is destined to intervene in situations of crisis and of emergency as well as combating the underdevelopment, hunger, poverty, social exclusion and sequels of wars/conflicts occurred or with domestic implications (AMI, 2015c). AMI is an example of solidarity in action, with those who suffer some type of inequality, and lead into wake-up calls of universal conscience. Namely in Brazil, AMI started its cooperation in the year of 1993, through the support given to a local NGO, Communitarian Association of Milagres (Acom), in a Programme of Medical and Sanitary Assistance. It was launched in June 1993, the first AMI mission in Brazil, more specifically in a small town of the Brazilian Northeast, Milagres, located South from Ceará, 485 km from the state capital, Fortaleza, which seeked to improve the medical assistance to the population, whether in human environment or at the prevention level. The terrain where Milagres’ population reside, about 30,000 inhabitants, has an area of about 700km2, where agriculture is the basic activity. Most people are farmers or “biscateiros” and live in great need: many don’t have houses, they starve and they don’t have minimal hygiene conditions. In this support programme it’s encompassed medical and sanitary assistance and also social-educational.

Between the years of 2001 and 2011, AMI performed hospital rehabilitations; improved the quality and diversity of the services offered in the hospital and bought medical and training equipment. AMI also tried to innovate in the social health assistance of this very hospital. The active participation of volunteers in the local community always existed; and there was the acquisition of basic Fun functional routine instruments for a better quality attendance, resolution and humanization in the community.

In the year of 2012, the renovation and enlargement of the Specialized Centre of Assistance to Elderly People of the Hospital and Madre Rosa Gattorno Maternity took place, with the following goals: to renovate and expand the places of the hospital and of the maternity; to turn the hospital and the maternity into a Specialized Centre of Assistance to Elderly People; to improve life quality, health and elderly longevity.

Since the year of 2013, an international project is in force in partnership with local organization of support to agro-community development in the Sítio Genipapeiro II, with the goals of: contribute for the strengthening of associativism, community development, life quality improvement and elevation of the self-esteem of farmers and families from Sítio Genipapeiro II through the implementation of production activities and income generation; promote sustainable associativism through the agricultural population and income generation; and to improve life conditions at the economic and health levels of the associates and their families (AMI,2015b).The humanitarian action that is developed in cooperation between AMI and Brazil, specifically in the Brazilian Northeast, has had very positive consequences, at a social and developmental level on the territory and on the people with which they interact.

Currently, AMI is present in Rio de Janeiro and the NGO Metamorphosis plays an important and arduous work of social awareness among the children and youth of the community Xerem slum. Problems of drug addiction and prostitution are common contexts in which most of its population is inserted. The Brazilian organization acts on three areas of this slum, locally supporting more than three dozen of young people who wish to give a new direction to their lives. At the same time, there are two actions to be implemented by the end of 2016. The first is linked to child sponsorship of school age that need support in educational expenses and the second is a project called “Girls Hope” aimed at drug addict girls. In the Brazilian Northeast, AMI will continue to invest in the development of Genipapeiro II community. Situated 10 kilometres from the town of Milagres, this village has received the Solidarity Adventurers AMI, who built a protective fence of agricultural land. These works allowed to immediately develop community gardens, not only for their own consumption but also for sale, thus creating a dynamic sustainability.

AMI has another ongoing project: to provide drinking water to the community via a direct grid connection that channels two reservoirs with 10,000 liters each. The initiative is being extended and it will definitely be a success for the families who need support and attention. At the same time, the design of community gardens continues to develop at a good pace, and, expectedly, the creation of a specific culture of medicinal plants with a view to medical solutions of some health problems, thereby circumventing the lack of a pharmacy. It is still under study the development activities in the field of livestock, thus giving the community greater food self-sufficiency and financial strength to sell the surplus (AMI, 2015b). Based on this historical performance, it is noted that volunteering and the urgent desire to help, to act, to energize, to propel the capabilities of every person and every culture of each locality even further are the driving forces for the desirable development and sustainability, having an impact not only in terms of humanitarian action and cooperation between countries, but also with regard to humanitarianism in these international relations. Humanitarian action that is developed in cooperation between AMI and Brazil, specifically in the Brazilian Northeast region, has had very positive consequences in terms of social and developmental impact on the territory and the people with which it interacts. Volunteering is a key pillar of the foundational activity through which human rights are a real challenge, for which the work of volunteers is guided in the sense of global citizenship and its values.

In behalf of an experience of Solidarity Adventure in Brazil

A volunteer experience in the globalization context has, as a goal, a conscious imperative of humanization of the human being, of the more altruist will of our society, and in this way the Solidarity Adventure is born, an AMI’s initiative that allows any person to co-finance and participate in a project of specific development that contributes to a singular point between different cultures, it approaches the populations, narrowing the solidarity ties that will not be broken. It’s an opportunity to travel and go against indifference and unravel the world in its reality and transparency.

The Solidarity Adventure in meant for adults or underage above 16 years old properly accompanied by the parents, provided that they meet the health conditions to leave. They should be in physical and psychological conditions to depart for the Solidarity Adventure, once it’s not possible to receive people with chronic diseases (cardiac, breathing, metabolic) musculoskeletal and rheumatic problems or diseases of the psychological and psychiatric forum. The selection does not depend on the individual competencies once the fulfilled tasks will be the same for the several adventurous. For each Solidarity Adventure, there are a limited number of positions. Thereby and after sending the interest e-mail to participate, it will be done a preregistration according to the desired destination.

The place where Solidarity Adventure takes place in Brazil is in the city of Milagres. Being a project developed with the group of NGO partners, which fulfill their work with the underprivileged communities, it is necessary support for their fulfillment.Thus, the adventurer finances a specific project and then has the opportunity to finish it in person and participate in the opening ceremony.This is the relative value to which the financing is destined to the fulfillment of the local project, in which the adventurers are going to participate. The Solidarity Adventure lasts nine days/eight nights, and in the first days, 4 daily hours are dedicated to the development of voluntary work (in the rehabilitation of structures or other type of implementation to be defined in each of the adventures). Usually, volunteers do paintings, cleanings, place materials for the functioning of structures, amongst other activities. After the end of the project, it will be inaugurated with the presence of all the participants and the local population. The following days will be occupied with activities of cultural interchange, variable according to the country, and in which can be fit the following: cultural interchange in the local populations, visits to places of cultural interest, presentation of traditional dances, craft workshops, hiking, among others.

The adventurers may stay in houses and/or tents. However, lodging is rudimentary, having similar conditions to the ones lived in the humanitarian mission of AMI. In the end of each adventure, adventurers are asked to opine on the experience, through the filling of an individual questionnaire. Their suggestions and testimonies are fundamental for the future development of the project. These are genuine demonstrations of great cultural richness, a mixture of beliefs, faith and ancient rituals where adventure lovers learn to respect, cooperate and live the different and unravel the authenticity of a country without taking the chance of missing the essential. To join this adventure is to participate in a work which aims to improve health and life conditions of local communities, encouraging the idea that each society is committed with its own development. By doing a task to which one was designated for, each adventurer contributes to promote the sustainability of the projects developed by the local civil society, helping, at the same time, to create jobs and to retain the population, thus avoiding migration to poorer and overcrowded urban centres (AMI, 2015a).

As for the question of relative data regarding beneficiaries of missions in Brazil, through the support to local NGO, between the years of 2001 to 2004, 30,000 people were beneficiated. In the period between 2005 to 2009, the direct beneficiaries totalized 1,888 people and indirectly, 406 needy families. In the years of 2010 -2011, 10,000 people were beneficiated. In the year of 2012, there were 830 project beneficiaries and 70,497 indirect ones (families).

From the year 2013 until nowadays there were beneficiated 3,258 people and, indirectly, 16,290 people (AMI,2015a). The participation does not cause changes in the future, only in the present, in the daily life that is felt and that is shared. The relation that is established and what is done in terms of cooperation and assistance is definitely the result of a good relation that AMI holds with local partners, with the countries’ governments in the sense to help; in a way of deep recognition that our action makes a difference, although it is felt and understood that, after our absence, some situations will certainly come back to be what they were before our arrival; it’s a “controlled and transient” development that leaves marks, but it is still insufficient to change everything; it changes visions, feelings, even modifies the level of relations, but the bitter feeling of insufficiency for not providing assistance to everyone will always loom over.

Therefore, the benefits may be systematized in the following way: to the local population = creation of jobs contributing for the population’s retention; improvement of life quality under the fulfillment of the project which will serve the local community directly. For the adventurer, it’s an experience that stimulates team work, the involvement with the local community and the acquisition of knowledge of a country and its culture. For AMI it constitutes a way of fundraising to finance projects (AMI,2015a).

Final considerations

Ethics, international solidarity and compassion are part of a new paradigm before the reality, through which we will have to perform, develop activities, innovate and adapt to this changes of the actual world and prepare to face the future. In this sense, it is fundamental to continue to reinforce the linkage, just as Celestino del Arenal claims: the tendency, result of the thesis of the nature state, considering that the state system and the international system are sealed, behaviours in a way that there are no “links” between the internal and the international environment. On the other hand, the “eurocentric” nature of traditional conceptions against the global nature of international society of nowadays and the appearance of a series of structural changes have been disrupting the traditional key axis of international relations (Harmazábal and Carreño, 2006HARMAZÁBAL R.; CARREÑO, E. Introducción a la teoría de las relaciones internacionales. Chile: Inap, 2006. (Documentos Apoyo Docente, n. 14)., p.39).

The excessive increase of a terrorist threat after 9/11 marked the beginning of a new era for humanitarian aid. The grounds and securitized help acting that had been developed in the world of the Cold War - and incorporated into liberal democracy organizations with multiple mandates that provided as much humanitarian aid as development aid - were used in the new battle against terrorism. The modus operandi developed by humanitarian actors to defend their action legitimacy is being questioned, since the parameters of “humanitarian principles” have been eroded over time. Moreover, the very effectiveness of humanitarian aid to provide emergency assistance has been undermined by its incorporation into the liberal-democratic model, a model questioned and challenged by an emerging multipolarity which is defined in opposition to Western models in general (Whittall, 2015WHITTALL, J. A crisis of legitimacy for humanitarianism. Liverpool: University of Liverpool, 2015. Available at: <Available at: http:// repository.liv.ac.uk/2010939/3/WhittallJon_Jan2015_2010939. pdf >. Accessed: 15 Feb. 2016.
http:// repository.liv.ac.uk/2010939/3/W...
, p.3).

To reinforce the connections between Portugal and Brazil in the sense of a bigger cooperation and development for both countries, especially in the fundamental role of volunteers, who should be humanitarian, should have concerns with the other human beings and actively intervene to improve their life conditions; they should especially not forget the relation held with the others, namely the knowledge interchange, the permanent respect and friendship. In an unfair and uneven world, volunteers will symbolically be represented as just a drop in the ocean in terms of coming to alert and shake consciences all over the world. Sensitivity, the fight against indifference and intolerance, is the most important, to help the others following a sense of equity, justice, opportunities, equality, for a harmonious world.

It’s more and more important to awaken the conscience to an effective citizenship. It’s right here that volunteering finds permanently the totality of its expression. It’s fundamental because it promotes a critical citizenship, in permanent alert, attentive and interceptive, that is, an attitude that sustains the volunteering. Citizens must assume an active and participative attitude. Without participation of the civil society there can’t be a true development and a true democracy.

Volunteering is active solidarity. The concept of subsidiarity got lost, without responsibilization regarding the citizens and their obligations and depreciating their effective participation in social life. Therefore associative movements and volunteering are fundamental. This pillar will positively influence the evolving of our society. With this movement the survival of noble causes and ethic values will unquestionably endure. Only an attentive and participative civil society, hand in hand with the informed volunteering, can combat the two worst diseases of mankind: the indifference and the intolerance (Nobre, 2010______. Gritos contra a indiferença. Lisboa: Círculo dos Leitores, 2010. NOYA, J. Diplomacia pública para el siglo XXI. Barcelona: Real Instituto Elcano, 2007., p.110).

Thus, international cooperation for development comes up with one of the most important ways to the equitable development of the world and improved life quality of the population of many poor countries. It is a movement that gained momentum at the end of Second World War and is being transformed according to the evolution of history, always looking for improvements in social and economic situation of countries, based on international understanding that cooperation should be part of the international agenda for development.

But a question arises: will there be courage, imagination and determination so that we can take it to a good end the societies and mentalities’ transformations that are demanded so that a global future - more fair, harmonious and serene - can be built? It is said that the path is made by walking, just like the Spanish poet António Machado would mention. It seems to be time to rush the pace, but before that it’s necessary to examine what effectively happens in our solidarity world of cooperation amongst peoples and, for that, it is essential to always be alert, not be indifferent, and act in behalf of solidarity, tolerance, ethics and altruism.

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  • 1
    This study conducted at FCT, Excellent (UID/CPO/00758/2013), University of Minho and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science through national funds.

Datas de Publicação

  • Publicação nesta coleção
    Abr 2017

Histórico

  • Recebido
    07 Mar 2016
  • Aceito
    21 Dez 2016
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