Brazil: curb police and prison abuses

Human Rights Watch, 01/27/2016

Brazil needs to ensure accountability for unlawful police killings and torture and do more to alleviate inhumane conditions in its severely overcrowded prisons, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2016.

“Brazil’s prisons remain a human rights disaster,” said Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director of Human Rights Watch, “and the number of police killings remains extremely high.”

In Rio de Janeiro, in 2015, 644 people died at the hands of on-duty police officers – a 10 percent increase over the previous year. In São Paulo, on-duty officers killed 494 people in the first nine months of the year, an increase of 1 percent. Police routinely report that the people they have killed died in shootouts, but officers in several states were implicated in death squad-style killings. The grim 2015 figures follow a year in which, nationwide, the number of killings by both on- and off-duty police officers increased by almost 40 percent, to more than 3,000, while the number of police officers killed – almost 400 – dropped by 2 percent.

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