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25 per 100,000: Brazil's Per-Capita Homicide Rate Is Three Times the World Average

Police violence in Brazil Earlier this year, in September, the United Nations released a report on Brazilian arbitrary, summary, or extra-judicial executions, elaborated by the special investigator Philip Alston, who visited Brazil for 11 days in November 2007.

The investigator covered cities in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Pernambuco to examine security politics, police violence, the prison system, the actions of extermination groups, rural violence, and violence against indigenous peoples.

According to the report, approximately 48,000 deaths occur in Brazil each year, making the country's homicide rate one of the highest in the world.

Data from 2006 shows that the homicide rate per capita is much higher than the world-wide average, with 25 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The world-wide average is 8.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, not including deaths related to wars.

The special investigator recommends reforms in the Civil Police, the Military Police, police internal affairs office, medical jurisprudence, ombudsmen, public prosecutor's office, judiciary, and in the prison administration.

"Oftentimes, the members of police forces contribute to the problem of extra-judicial executions instead of helping to resolve it. In part, there exists a major problem of on-duty police using excessive force and practicing extra-judicial executions in illegal and counter-productive efforts to combat crime. But there also exists the problem of out-of-service police who gather to form criminal organizations which also participate in these assassinations."

In accordance with the text, active police are responsible for a significant proportion of the total number of deaths in Brazil. Data from the report reveals that while the official homicide rate in São Paulo decreased in recent years, the number of deaths caused by the police increased, in fact, in the last three years.

In 2007, the active police forces killed one person per day. In Rio de Janeiro, active police forces are responsible for almost 18% of all deaths, killing three people per day.

The report also criticizes "bicos" (odd jobs) practiced by police: "It is a fact known to the highest levels of the government, the police, and the police commanders, that the prohibited practice of having a second job - mainly as security - is fairly widespread. However, while efforts are made in Pernambuco, it was clear to me that in São Paulo and in Rio de Janeiro, nothing is being done to deal with this problem."

On the issue of militias, the investigator affirmed that "for the residents, life under the dominion of a militia is, oftentimes, as violent and insecure as it is to live under the dominion of a drug faction. The militias execute extra-judicially those suspected of being traffickers to force their withdrawal from the area, they execute those suspected of other crimes, they intimidate the residents and threaten and kill those who speak against the militia or those who are considered allied with other groups who are vying for control."

In relation to the death squads (esquadrões da morte), Alston says that these extermination groups are formed by police and others with the objective of killing, mainly for financial gain. "Such groups sometimes justify their actions as an illegal tool of 'combating crime'. In cases where the groups are being contracted for money, the contractors sometimes integrate other criminal organizations, such as traffickers or corrupt politicians who feel threatened and are looking to dominate that threat, gain advantages over the other rival group, or to take revenge."

According to the report, data from the Public Ministry of Pernambuco indicates that approximately 70% of the assassinations in Pernambuco are carried out by death squads.

"One CPI (Parliamentary Inquiry Commission) of the national congress found that the majority of extermination groups are made up of government agents (police and prison agents) and that 80% of the crimes committed by these extermination groups involve police or ex-police," it added.

In conclusion, the UN investigator made a series of recommendations to the Brazilian public powers on policing strategies, involvement of police in organized crime, police accountability, expert evidence, witness protection, attorney generals, the judicial structure, and the prison system.

On the issue of the prison system, the report advises that the government take measures which end the control of factions in the penitentiaries, eliminating cell phones, and decreasing overcrowding.



0 #18 ahmad 2009-02-07 14:42
Trust me who ever suggested sanctions agains t brazil will not solve the problem it will make it worse brazil is a new democracy and when a country first becomes a democracy all kinds of problems occur just look at britain 400 years it was worse than brazil now and it took over a 250 years to get it up to standard and the US they had worse security than brazil but now look at them and even newzealnd when it first got it's independence and became a democracy it was considered one of the most dangerous spots on earth now it is one of the safes all I would suggest would be for people to be more aware when they vote and for the international community to help the brazillian government regain control of it's streets
0 #17 BasilMALU 2009-01-16 10:12
O Brasil éum pais de grandes desigualdades socio-economicas, corrupção, etc, etc.... Só que o Brasil também é sol o ano inteiro, friozinho no Sul, belezas naturais incomparáveis, celeiro do mundo, Amazonia, Pantanal, musica, literatura, calor humano indiscutível, alegria, beleza, alegria, alegria alegria , sempre.... Gringos! Parem já de falar desse gigante maravilhoso e por enquanto, somente por enquanto, adormecido.
0 #16 would have to start at the topFORREST ALLEN BRAOW 2009-01-03 05:33
and clean up goverment , and walk your way down the halls to the street vendor .
coulmbia started it 8 years ago and now they like it so much people are turning in
crooked people from police to business men and politicans ,
and they are going to jail .

chc to a brasilian any one not a brasilian is a gringo
0 #15 bo 2008-12-29 21:18
I lived in Brazil in 2007 and 2008 and I know many local business leaders - everybody agrees that education is the only thing that is missing in Brazil to be a great country.
A whole two years huh? Impressive. ;-)

And you said a mouthful concerning education. And along with having a low level of education come an array of other problems. It's like having AIDS. One doesn't actually die from AIDS, he dies from all the other diseases and health problems he has because of AIDS.

And I venture to say, that even, one day, after we're all long dead and gone, if the majority of brazilians have a high level of good education, it's still going to be one helluva task in turning these people honest. When ChC says that " lieing, cheating, stealing....it's in their genes", well, he is exagerrating. But I know what he means, and so do most that know brazil and brazilians. "Jeitinho", " Amizade", and the like, are so engrained in Brazilian life that it could be thousands of years and they still be significant problems even though the masses became educated.
0 #14 THEY HAVE THE LAWSforrest allen brown 2008-12-29 03:17

or the cop with the hand out
the judge with the hand out
the sentor with the hand out

in the rest of the world crime does not pay
in brasil you pay money for the crime to clear yourself

even the ploice ferdal just the pay out is higher

the brasilian people put up with it
of corse they do as they have never been taught
to know better
0 #13 observer.. 2008-12-28 12:56
Double Dot.....I may know you too
Esteemed Observer, old friends never forget each other. :D ;-)
0 #12 João da Silva 2008-12-28 07:25
I lived in Brazil in 2007 and 2008 and I know many local business leaders - everybody agrees that education is the only thing that is missing in Brazil to be a great country.
Did those "local business leaders" discuss with you as how to locate the "missing" education ?
0 #11 I agree with Will MatiasKristian 2008-12-27 23:52
Ch. c is so emotional and has no logic sometimes in his arguments - only teenagers act like that. Yes, Ch. c you are right about the facts sometimes, but you use them as you want and it is ALWAYS negative towards Brazil. I lived in Brazil in 2007 and 2008 and I know many local business leaders - everybody agrees that education is the only thing that is missing in Brazil to be a great country. I always look at a country or o company or a person as a produdct of its progress, history. If you study it you understand why you have these problems. To complain about them is immature. So Ch. c - I hope to see more constructive comments and less emotions. 8)
0 #10 Ch.cWill Matias 2008-12-26 19:27
You know buddy, you have great ideas. I've always read your comments and always done the happy dance, because you get the elements of what it would take to change Brazil. I, myself, am a Brazilian, living abroad in the States. Of course, as any other sane individual in this website, disagree with the way you go about sharing your ideas. It doesn't hurt me as much as it concerns me, that you overgeneralize Brazilians as crooks, shady people, and incapable of ever doing something right. I don't know if you mean the Brazilian government, but it doesn't seem to be the case. It saddens me to confirm that people like you, from such developed (and perfect, I daresay) countries such as Switzerland think themselves above the Brazilian people. Yes, Brazil has endless socio-economical problems, but I think a little unfair for you to sink the population to such a low level. The country is growing at a reasonable rate, and it is obvious that not every problem can be solved at once. We would all like to see Rocinha gone from the beautiful skyline of Rio, but you don't presume we'll drop a bomb on it to achieve it, do you? Money is scarce, government is corrupt, and the people uneducated. You should consider all those when trashing Brazil from your Swiss high horse. I hope you improve your rhetoric and ideals, as those are the only things keeping you from being a great politician.
My regards,

Will Matias
0 #9 it's because you're a GRINGOch.c. 2008-12-26 03:41
Sorry but.....I am Swiss !!!!

;-) ;-)

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