• Categories
  • Archives

UN Warns Brazil Against Arbitrary Detention and Lack of Legal Assistance

Prison in BrazilThe UN’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is raising concerns regarding the excessive use of deprivation of liberty and the lack of effective legal assistance to persons arrested and detained in Brazil.

The experts stressed that depriving persons of their liberty was the most common recourse both in terms of administrative detention and the criminal justice system.

“There is a culture of using deprivation of liberty as the norm and not as an exceptional measure reserved for serious offenses as required by international human rights standards,” said human rights expert Roberto Garretón at the end of the expert group’s ten-day official visit to Brazil.

“In the majority of criminal cases, alternative measures to detention were not applied even in cases of minor offenses,” said the Working Group’s member, recalling that minor offenses like theft can result in detention.

Brazil currently has one of the highest prison populations in the world with around 550,000 persons, 217,000 of whom are in pre-trial detention.

The plight of the poor in accessing justice has been a recurring issue throughout the visit. The majority of those in Brazil’s prisons are poor and cannot afford effective legal assistance. Free legal aid offered by public defenders seemed to be the only available option.

However, the experts noted, the number of public defenders in the country is severely inadequate. Detainees often met their public defender for the first time only at the court house when a hearing was about to take place.

They have also learned that States like Santa Catalina, Paraná and Goiânia did not have public defenders at all.

“In a country where the majority of those in prison are poor and cannot afford lawyers of their choice, it is extremely worrying that there is not enough legal assistance available to those who need it,” Mr. Garretón said.

“We found numerous cases where detainees were arrested, brought into detention and had to wait for months to see a public defender,” said Vladimir Tochilovsky, the other member of the Working Group’s delegation, stressing that lengthy pre-trial detention is also a serious problem in Brazil.

“Even worse, some have waited years before they could get a trial and find out what the charges against them were.”

The need to rigorously protect the right to fair trial of those arrested, including the right to be brought promptly before a court, was constantly raised by the Working Group throughout the visit.

They also expressed serious concerns regarding the arrests and compulsory confinement of drug addicts. These often involved young, poor and homeless drug users who were arrested, allegedly in an effort to ‘clean up’ the streets.

Pressure to further enforce these types of arrests was reportedly due to major upcoming events such as the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016, which Brazil will host.

The expert body warned against arrests made on the basis of discrimination, and also addressed issues in relation to the detention of adolescents and persons with mental illness. It urged the Government to ensure that deprivation of liberty in all these situations would be in conformity with international human rights standards.

During its first official visit to Brazil from 18 to 28 March 2013, the group of independent experts designated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty visited various detention facilities, including prisons, police stations, detention centers for migrants and psychiatric institutions.

The Group’s delegation traveled to Campo Grande, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, in addition to Brasília, where they met with the relevant authorities from the executive, legislative, judicial organs at the federal and state levels as well as civil society organizations.

The visiting delegation consisted of Mr. Garretón (from Chile) and Mr. Tochilovsky (from Ukraine). The other three members of the Working Group are El Hadji Malick Sow who is the Chair-Rapporteur (from Senegal), Shaheen Sardar Ali who is the Vice-Chair (from Pakistan) and Mads Andenas (from Norway).

The Working Group will present its report on the visit to the Human Rights Council in 2014.

 

Tags:

  • Show Comments (3)

  • David Arana

    Good show Otton
    When one doesn’t like what one hears he lashes out at the other guy. Really a superb way to do nothing. The article was about us, here, in Brazil. Of course there are other reports. We laugh at ourselves right? Keep your perspective, don’t get defensive. It ain’t personal. We will continue to do the best we can, if the UN doesn’t like it…..they will just have to put up with it like we do.

  • Otton Bexaron

    How about also bash the U.S. and Germany ?
    You’d be surprise how many times UN organisms have pointed at dozens of different violations by the U.S. on its own citizens as well as against people and nations worldwide. Last month the UN Committee Against Racism CERN- ordered Germany to bring its legislations against racism up to UN standards and to report within 60 days about the actions taken. The widely published racist opinions published by personalities in Germany and condoned by Germany’s laws and society – would cause legal consequences in Brazil. As for justice in the U.S. – it takes 5 years for a criminal case to come to court in the Bronx (according to NYT), and every few month death row inmates or life-sentences imprisoned (usually “dark” colored) have to be released because after decades they are found not to have committed the crimes for which they had been sentenced – frequently because the “public defender” was incompetend, asleep or drunk – or the “crime lab” run by s fake!

  • David Marshal

    Detention and Lack of Legal Assistance
    I have selected positive a lot of Useful information out of this source. I’d love to visit it more than and over again. “MBA Dissertation”

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Brazil to Become More Attractive to Oil Exploration

The president of the Brazilian Petroleum Institute (IBP), João Carlos França de Lucas, says ...

Brazil’s Lula Will Not Attend Arafat’s Funeral

In an official note, the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations lamented the death of ...

Spain Works Out Details to Convert Brazil’s Debt into Education Investment

The conversion of part of Brazil’s foreign debt into investments in education was one ...

Brazilian Army Signs US$ 3.5 Billion Deal to Build Over 2,000 War Tanks in Brazil

Brazil's Army and Fiat Iveco signed an agreement for the manufacturing of 2.044 armored ...

Brazil’s Lula Urges World Leaders to Be Daring

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said today that the world has the ...

Alas, in Brazil, the Greener Times Seem to Be in the Past

Contradiction festers in Rio de Janeiro as international fervor surrounding June’s lackluster Rio +20 ...

Promising Vaccine to Cure AIDS Being Tested in Brazil

One of the most promising world researches for the development of an AIDS vaccine ...

Lula Soothes Brazilians, Then Asks Them to Trust Him and Go Out and Shop

Despite the international economic crisis the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, ...

Brazil Calls Rio +20 Final Text Step Ahead and Accuses the Rich of Being Stingy

The Brazilian minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, came out in defense of the Rio ...