Brazil Threatened with Economic Sanctions by the OAS for Child Abuse

The Governor of São Paulo, Brazil, Geraldo Alckmin, says he intends to invite the seven judges on the Organization of American States’ Interamerican Human Rights Court to visit his state.

Alckmin said the visit would prove that São Paulo does follow human rights norms in its juvenile delinquent retention centers (reform schools), such as the Tatuapé Febem.

On November 30, the OAS court made a series of recommendations for improvements at the Tatuapé Febem following reports of rebellions, torture and deaths at that reform school.

The state secretary of Justice and Citizen Defense, Hédio Silva Junior, said that he does not expect the case to evolve further.

"The November 30 decision by the OAS court does not aggravate the situation. On November 17 we published our own recommendations for resolving the problem," he said, "and I believe the international judges will find them sufficient."

The Interamerican Human Rights Court at the Organization of American States, which has been holding hearings on cases of abuses at the Tatuapé juvenile retention center has announced its decision in the form of a series of recommendations.

The Tatuapé Febem has been the scene of numerous riots and inmate rebellions. Since 2004 Brazilian NGOs that are active in human rights have denounced cases of torture and deaths at the Tatuapé Febem.

The court made the following recommendations: that measures be taken to impede further rebellions; that the physical integrity and the lives of the inmates and center personnel be protected; that the administrator of the center identify people who practice torture and abuse, and punish them accordingly.

The court also urges that management in at Febem halt prolonged confinements, known as "trancas"; make a substantial reduction in the number of inmates; separate inmates in accordance with international norms; provide inmates with medical assistance; make regular inspections of the facilities and report back to the Interamerican Human Rights court every two months.

If the court’s recommendations are not followed it is possible that Brazil will face economic and political sanctions.

ABr

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