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Poor in Brazil Can’t Count on the Courts, Says UN

The special rapporteur from the UN Comission on Human Rights, Leandro Despouy, has released a preliminary report on the Brazilian judicial system.

The survey was conducted between October 13 and 25 through interviews with 500 people during a series of 50 meetings which took place in the cities of São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Recife and Belém, as well as the Distrito Federal.


According to Despouy, the main problem with the system is that various sectors of Brazilian society simply do not have access to judicial assistance.


Those who suffer most are women, children and Indians. “There is a definite socio-economic aspect to the problem,” he says.


Another problem is the law’s delay. “The system permits an excess of appeals and hearings which drag out cases. And as most of these cases involve the government, you can say that the government is often to blame for the slow pace,” declared Despouy.


The state with the most problems due to slowness was São Paulo. But the state of Paraná was cited as an example to be followed, with its computerized courts and data banks that permit cases to proceed on the Internet (virtual processes).


In his report, Despouy points out the close relation between violence and police performance, and the connection between that performance and economical and political interests.


“This is the explanation for the existence of impunity, especially in cases involving children and young people.”


In conclusion he cites the rising level of criminal activity.


“In the city of Belém, for every six inmates who complete their prison sentences and go free, there are fifteen new ones on their way to jail.”


Another problem is that the age of most criminals who go to prison is between 18 and 24.


Agência Brasil
Translator: Allen Bennett

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