November 1, 2011
Juan Forero – NPR, 11/01/2011
Santa Marta is one of the many slums that dot the hillsides of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rio, host of the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, is now trying to remake these slums, or favelas, long wracked by poverty and violence. Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images
On a recent day in Rio de Janeiro, police radios crackle in Providencia, a warren of cinder-block homes and narrow walkways where drugs and violence were once common.
But these days, it’s just routine chatter. All is safe in this favela, one of the hundreds of slums built chock-a-block on the city’s steep hills. A Rio advertising company is leading a tour for its employees and representatives of other companies.
Among those who have come is Raoni Lotar, a 30-year-old Carioca — resident of Rio.
October 26, 2011
Julia Michaels – InSight Crime, 10/26/2011
Brazil’s elite military police are trying to build ties with communities and undo the harm done by officers who allegedly abused residents in Complexo da Mare, a favela which has not yet come under police control, reports blogger Julia Michaels.
Since the 2008 start of Rio’s new public safety policy, BOPE, the military police elite squad, has met with community members, but never like this.
First of all, the cops weren’t even invited. “When we saw you coming in, the first thing we thought was, ‘They’re going to prevent us from meeting’,” said Rubens Casara, a judge active on human rights issues. “The second was, ‘They’re going to try to keep people from making accusations about police behavior’,” he told three elite squad members who came, it turned out, to actually listen and respond to residents.
October 20, 2011
Julia Michaels – Christian Science Monitor, 10/20/2011
Rio de Janeiro's Security Secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame, attends a press conference at Justice Court of Rio de Janeiro, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Sept. 12. Fabio Motta/Agencia Estado/Newscom/File
Highlights of an extensive Epoca magazine interview published yesterday, with State Public Safety Secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame, by Ruth de Aquino.
- Paramilitary gangs, milícias, are the priority now, not drug traffickers. ”Almost every week we arrest a militia member,” Mr. Beltrame said. When a judge who’d been tough on milicianos was gunned down in front of her home this past August, it was instantly clear they’d gone too far. Eleven military police, including a battalion commander, are behind bars now, accused of the killing. The assassination touched off a major shakeup in the military police hierarchy, starting with the chief’s resignation.
- Rocinha favela will be pacified soon, and its druglord, Nem, may turn himself in. “Bring Nem. Great. It’s just a question of finding a time and place. No problem.”
October 19, 2011
Reporters Without Borders, 10/19/2011
The army’s attempts to “pacify” and secure Brazil’s favelas and crack down on their drug traffickers before the 2014 Football World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games are raising concern about the accompanying violations of human rights and civil liberties in these communities, including the rights of their own journalists.
News reporting by the residents of these poor neighbourhoods should enjoy the same safety guarantees and freedom from censorship as reporting by Brazil’s mainstream media.
A series of incidents this month in Complexo do Alemão, a conglomeration of 13 favelas in Rio de Janeiro, has set a disturbing precedent and highlighted a reluctance on the part of the military to accept grass-roots reporting.
August 30, 2011
Alexei Barrionuevo – New York Times, 08/29/2011
A house in Nova Constituinte, in Salvador, is protected by a makeshift fence. The arrival of crack cocaine has been particularly devastating there, and the number of murders in Bahia increased 430 percent between 1999 and 2008. Lalo de Almeida for The New York Times
SALVADOR, Brazil — Jenilson Dos Santos Conceição, 20, lay face down on the rough concrete, his body twisted, sandals still on his feet, as the blood from his 14 bullet wounds stained the sloped alleyway.
A small crowd of residents watched dispassionately as a dozen police officers hovered around the young man’s lifeless body.
“He was followed until he was executed right here,” said Bruno Ferreira de Oliveira, a senior investigator. “They wanted to make sure he was dead.”
May 16, 2011
Fabiola Ortiz – AlJazeera, 05/15/2011
Jane de Meneses Coelho, whose son Julio Cesar died in a police operation, cries as Amnesty's Secretary General Salil Shetty watches during a meeting for victims of police violence at Cidade Alta slim in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Reuters
Despite “considerable progress” made in reducing poverty, “stark inequalities” remain in Brazil, as well as high levels of police and gang violence in poor urban neighbourhoods, Amnesty International warns in its annual human rights report, released as it reaches its 50th anniversary.
The “Annual Report 2011: The state of the world’s human rights” documents specific restrictions on free speech in at least 89 countries, cases of torture and other ill-treatment in almost 100 countries, and unfair trials in at least 54 countries.
In the chapter on Brazil, the London-based global rights watchdog says the country’s “favelas” or shanty towns continue to face “a range of human rights abuses, including forced eviction and lack of access to basic services.”