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    June 06, 2014
    By Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil

    Brazil is about to host the biggest football frenzy on the planet, where teams from around the world fight for the Cup every fan wants to hold.

    But as Messi, Neymar and Rooney come face to face, outside Brazil’s shiny new stadiums another more serious standoff is taking place – one in which the ‘rules’ are being openly flouted.

    Since June 2013, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in unprecedented numbers of cities and towns across Brazil demanding better public services, including transport, among other rights. Many of them complain that authorities are paying too much attention to FIFA’s demands and too little to the needs of their own people.

    The response of the authorities has been nothing short of disgraceful.

    Military police units sent to keep the protests “under control” have not hesitated for a second before shooting tear gas at peaceful protesters – in one case even inside a hospital. They have fired rubber bullets and beat men and women with batons despite them posing no threat.

    June 04, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs (Rio de Janeiro) 5 June 2014

    Protesters taking to the streets across Brazil during the upcoming World Cup risk facing indiscriminate police and military violence as the country steps up efforts to control demonstrations, Amnesty International said a week before the start of the tournament.

    “Brazil’s deficient policing record, reliance on the military to police demonstrations, lack of training and an atmosphere of impunity creates a dangerous cocktail in which the only losers are peaceful protesters,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    “The 2014 World Cup will be a crucial test for authorities in Brazil. They must use this opportunity to step up their game and ensure the security forces policing demonstrations during the tournament refrain from committing any more human rights violations,” said Atila Roque.

    Amnesty International’s report ‘They use a strategy of fear’: Protecting the right to protest in Brazil analyses the catalogue of abuses committed by the security forces in the past year.

    May 08, 2014

    Amnesty International launches global campaign warning against restrictions to freedom of expression and police abuses ahead of the World Cup in Brazil.

    As Brazil comes to the spotlight ahead of the 2014 World Cup, Amnesty International is launching a new global campaign urging authorities to ensure security forces “play by the rules” during demonstrations expected to take place ahead and during the tournament.

    The campaign “No foul play, Brazil” asks individuals across the world to send yellow cards to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and president of Congress, Renan Calheiros, urging them to respect everybody’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly during the World Cup.

    Large scale demonstrations have taken place in Brazil since June 2013, showing greater discontent with the poor quality of public services and its impact on thousands of people living in urban areas, among other concerns. Police have often responded using excessive and unnecessary force, including tear gas and rubber bullets.

    December 17, 2013

    Brazil's government should give full consideration to Edward Snowden's claim for asylum in the country, Amnesty International said today after the US whistleblower offered to help a Brazilian spying probe and requested asylum.

    Snowden said today in an "open letter to the Brazilian people", published on Facebook and in a Brazilian newspaper,that he wished to assist a government investigation into intelligence monitoring by his former employer the National Security Agency.

    The former NSA agent, whose temporary asylum in Russia is due to expire in August, added that he would not be able to help without "permanent political asylum".

    Snowden's request for asylum in Brazil, made in July, has not yet been answered.

    "Edward Snowden has every right to seek permanent asylum and the Brazilian authorities should respond to his initial asylum claim seriously," said Atila Roque, Brazil Director of Amnesty International.

    August 09, 2013

    “Despite all the economic progress made in Brazil over the last decade, violence is endemic and the current response is not only failing to reduce the violence, it is actually exacerbating the situation,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General Salil Shetty as he completed an official visit to the country.

    The visit highlighted issues of public security in the favelas of Rio, and the plight of Indigenous Peoples. It reviewed Brazil’s human rights progress as it prepares to host the next World Cup and Olympics and was timed to coincide with the International Day of Indigenous Peoples.

    In the favelas the Secretary General met members of the community who told him how they felt imprisoned in their own homes.

    “The people we met who live in Maré fear both the criminals who attack them and the police who are supposed to protect them,” said Salil Shetty.

    August 05, 2013

    Indigenous peoples’ rights and police violence are the focus of a High Level Mission (HLM) by Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, this week in Brazil.

    He will be meeting with top politicians and officials to discuss an array of human rights abuses and violations which need to be addressed.

    “Given the deep stated commitment of the people and Government of Brazil to realising all human rights of all Brazilians and its growing importance on the international stage, it is imperative that Brazil takes concrete steps to improve the state of human rights in the country,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    Police impunity

    According to UN figures, more than 2,000 people are killed by the police every year in Brazil. Between 1998 and 2009, more than 10,000 police killings were recorded in Rio de Janeiro state alone; police violence is also prevalent in many urban centres.

    July 24, 2013

    Every year police in Brazil are responsible for around 2,000 deaths, Amnesty International said today as it marked the 20th anniversary of the infamous Candelária massacre in Rio de Janeiro.

    “Our police still have blood on their hands, and are allowed to act with impunity as extra-judicial killings remain rife in Brazil’s major cities,” said Atila Roque, Amnesty International Brazil office director.

    On the night of 23 July 1993, eight young men and women died after a gang of hooded men opened fire on a group of some 50 street children sleeping on the steps of Rio de Janeiro’s Candelária church.

    Four of them died at the scene, another was gunned down as he escaped, two more were bundled into a car and then executed, and one girl died from her injuries several days later. Two of the victims were 18 years old while six were still children.

    June 14, 2013

    Brazilian police must avoid excessive use of force, Amnesty International said after scores of people have been injured and detained during several demonstrations in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo over a transportation fare hike.

    Protests began on Monday night, after the price of a single bus ticket in São Paulo was raised on 2 June from 3 reals (US$1.40) to 3.20 reals (US$1.50) and in Rio de Janeiro from 2,75 reals to 2,95 reals

    Since then, some protesters and police have both reportedly engaged in violence – on Thursday alone, 55 people were injured and 250 detained in São Paulo. Riot police have made wide use of tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators, some of whom have attacked public property.

    “The increasing level of violence amid these protests is deeply troubling”, said Atila Roque, director of the organization’s Brazil Office.

    The police reaction against protests has resulted in widespread reports of indiscriminate use of force against protesters.

    April 22, 2013

    The conviction of 23 Brazilian police officers for killing inmates in a prison massacre two decades ago is a "vital" step towards justice, Amnesty International has said.

    The officers were sentenced yesterday to 156 years each in jail for their role in the deaths of 13 inmates during bloody riots at São Paulo's Carandiru prison in 1992, in which more than 100 inmates died.

    "The victims, their families and survivors of this brutal, shocking crime have waited 20 years for justice," said Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International in Brazil.

    "This vital, if long overdue, ruling will hopefully kickstart a process that brings all those responsible for the killings to justice, including those in command."

    The Carandiru case has become emblematic of the flaws in São Paulo’s criminal justice system and its inability to deal with human rights violations.

    The authorities have failed to investigate the role of senior state government officials, while the conviction of the military operation’s commanding officer Colonel Ubiratan Guimarães was controversially overturned in 2006.

    April 15, 2013

    Brazil: Carandiru massacre trial must end long legacy of impunity

    A court trial this week over police responsibility for a Brazilian prison massacre two decades ago must signal the beginning of the end for a long legacy of impunity, Amnesty International said today.

    According to the human rights organization, the failure of Brazilian authorities in bringing anyone to justice for the Carandiru killings has reinforced longstanding abuses that have characterized Brazil’s detention system.

    More than 20 years after São Paulo state police repressed a jail riot in Carandiru prison, killing 111 prisoners, 26 rank and file police officers who allegedly took part on the deadly operation are due to face trial – the first of four trials opens today after being adjourned last week.

    “This trial must be a turning point”, said Atila Roque, Amnesty International’s Brazil Office director. “For years, the delay in bringing those responsible for the Carandiru massacre to justice has been a dark cloud hanging over the whole country – we hope that now this impunity is finally coming to an end.”


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