US’s HRF Gives Brazilian Woman Human Rights Award for Fighting Death Squads

Brazilian lawyer Sandra Carvalho Sandra Carvalho, a lawyer, sociologist and director of the non-governmental organization Global Justice, is the first Brazilian woman to be granted the Annual Human Rights Award from Human Rights First (HRF). The award was granted last week in New York.

The HRF Award has been awarded since 1986 to people who stand out in the "struggle for equality and freedom of thought, expression and religion in their societies."

Personalities that have been granted the award include former United States senator Edward Kennedy, Pakistani activists Asma Jahangir and Hina Jilani, both of whom are now high-level UN officials, and the former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, who was also the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

This year, the award was also granted to activist Principe Gabriel Gonzalez, who champions the rights of political prisoners in Colombia. The award-granting ceremony was held at Chelsea Piers, a convention center in New York City, United States.

The decision of awarding the Brazilian, according to the HRF, is an acknowledgement of Sandra's work in fighting police brutality and death squads, in the fight for agrarian reform, and the monitoring of abuse and crime committed within the prison system.

Another aspect of Sandra's work that was highlighted by the organization was her denunciation of the persecution and criminalizing of social and human rights movements in Brazil.

The HRF, a human rights organization founded in 1978, also called attention, upon granting the award, to the various threats made to Sandra since she began serving the cause in the 1990s, while she was still a social science student and a researcher at the Center for Studies on Violence (NEV) at the University of São Paulo (USP), as well as an intern at the Teotônio Vilela Human Rights Commission (CTV).

In 1992, Sandra was a member of the commission that entered the Carandiru prison shortly after the slaughtering of 111 inmates, and found the evidence that a massacre had taken place. Her work was crucial for preventing the tampering of the crime scene and guaranteeing the presence of a forensics team. From then on, Sandra specialized in public security, and geared her work at the NEV towards the reform of police and of the Brazilian prison system. By 1993, she was already the executive coordinator of the CTV.

Throughout the 1990s, in the city of São Paulo, Sandra Carvalho focused her work on monitoring crime and abuse committed by policemen. She reported on death squads, slaughtering, places used for extortion, torture and dumping of corpses. As the executive coordinator of the Human Rights Commission (CDH) of the Legislative Assembly of the City of São Paulo (Alesp), Sandra worked during the wave of rebellions at the Febem juvenile detention centers, in 1999. In that same year, she helped found Justiça Global (Global Justice).

Presently, Justiça Global operates in 13 different states. Apart from getting involved in matters of public security, the organization works to guarantee protection to human rights defenders who suffer threats and to criminalized or persecuted social movements.



  • Show Comments (3)

  • asp

    how do you think these militias come into existance ?
    i know brazil and rio much better than colombia, but, i watched as the drug dealing vilence just got worse and worse and it left it wide open for people with police and military training to come in and say they could rid the communities of the traficars

    they did it and then they stared imposing their will, often times violently on the community. they started forcing people to pay taxes and if anyone stood up to them, they would be eliminated….

    but it was the out of control traficar violence that created it

    and that is the same for colombias militias. the violence from farc and eln and i do mean they are some violent ruthless mother fuckers, created the paramilitaries…look how they treat thier kidnap victoms, did this woman represent them ? this totaly opened the door for violent militias to come in and take control and intimidate comunities and actualy take over drug dealing

    the shit on the streets in the favelas is no joke….its out of control…it is easy to see how it is the law of who is more powerful. the threat of violence to the average person creates a huge atomosphere of fear. and you can see people want to eliminat street kids, and do other intimidations, out of basic fear of the impending violence…and then things get out of control on all sides…its very complex and not such a rich against the poor situation….the truth is, all sides are dirty

  • asp

    well, guest , i absolutly never said there want injustice happening in these cases….
    what i said to adrian was what i portrayed what it seemed like he was saying….

    i dont think you read me very well. i didnt say mst never had bad things done to it….im not even saying they should be banned , or destroyed…i say see through their bullshit….

    i never said there wasnt great injustice done to poor people in the north east and everywhere. i said it was a big complex situation….you cant say all the rich land owners are bad and are against all the poor people…and there are some very rich powe hungry greedy exploiters like you will find every where. there is drastic need to reform….

    a lot of land reform is and has been going down since luis enrique cardozo, a lot is done behind the scenes. there is a lot going down that hs nothing to do with mst

    and great if mst is actualy making a differance in some peoples lives, but they bring a lot of thuggy confrontational threatening provoking violent sometimes murderous marxist dogmad bull shti to the table…

    they make land owners want to band together and arm themselves. they provoke these confrontations. people refer to the massacre the police did up in para. one of them, what happened before was a huge charge by the mst people with machettis waving and throwing huge rocks. and they routed the police who had no equipment to deal with people coming with bricks and machetes…i dont know any police in the world who wouldnt have reacted violently in return …they provoked it…

    there is no room for marxist dreck…it is failed …it is diametricly oposed to capatalism , and even the communist chinese have to be is like trying to put a square peg into a round hole…and these people can let go and come up with a more feasable way to work and get what they want. they could get so much more if they didn provoke the way they do. they have turned a lot of the population off with thier actions….thier fellow socialists will stand up for them. but they are hurting the cause.

    there are much more things and causes to be aware of to help and that deserve attention… like IMIP

    hey man, i pushed hard on the other thread, not angrily like you might think, actualy cold bloodedly writing those insults , out of an indignation of seeing the truth come out about things and seeing people not really acknowledging that these things are happening. its not personal, guest, but i will engage hard about issues i feel i have seen the truth about… will find that there are a lot of things im not disagreeing with at all, and other things,i can only say i have reached my conclusions after years of absorbing it , of course based on my own personal opinion….go ahaed and think what ever you want, but, i will think what i want and we just have to engage about it…that is what this is about anyway…at least we are free to vent about it, and that is about the most important thing about this forum…

  • The Guest

    ASP, I knew I would get a chance to answer your statement below. Here is it.
    ASP wrote: “adrian…in a nut shell, sometimes i perceive that you break it down like its just the elite rich against the down trodden poor, what i find more true for me is, there are serious injustices and misdistribution of wealth…most people try to fight these things within the system but there are those fewer individuals who choose the violent way to get justice,and that brings down an authoritarian violent responce in return and in the long run ,hurts the cause… a cause that i am for fighting for in a non violent way.”

    The real truth part one: “The decision of awarding the Brazilian, according to the HRF, is an acknowledgement of Sandra’s work in fighting police brutality and death squads, in the fight for agrarian reform, and the monitoring of abuse and crime committed within the prison system.”

    “Another aspect of Sandra’s work that was highlighted by the organization was her denunciation of the persecution and criminalizing of social and human rights movements in Brazil.”

    The real truth part two: “Decimated in the 1980s and living isolated in the northern Brazilian state of RondÀƒ´nia the Akuntsu tribe in the Brazilian Amazon has lost its oldest member…leaving the tribe with only five surviving members.”
    “Ururu witnessed the genocide of her people and the destruction of their rainforest home, as cattle ranchers and their gunmen moved on to indigenous lands in RondÀƒ´nia state.”

    “FUNAI found the remains of houses which had been destroyed by ranchers who were clearing the forest for cattle pasture. The ranchers attempted to hide evidence of the crime, but wooden poles, arrows, axes and broken pottery were discovered.”

    “RondÀƒ´nia was opened up by government colonization projects and the BR 364 highway in the 1960s and 70s during the Brazilian military dictatorship, which lasted from 1964 to 1985.”

    “Stephen Corry from the native rights organization Survival International stated, “With Ururu’s death we are seeing the final stages of a 21st century genocide.”

    (The goal achieved by the land grabbers upon those who were to weak and did not have the means to defend themselves and their land.)

    These are just two examples of the sad truth. Does some elements within MST use violence? Yes. Is it wrong? Yes, but most of the violence is not perpetuated by them. As a matter of fact the violence due to land grabbing in Brasil began long before MST was concieved, and the majority of the violence in regards to land grabbing had nothing to do with MST, especially in northern Brasil.

    For those who do not know, MST was born in southern Brasil.

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