OAS Demands that Brazil Stop Treating Juvenile Delinquents as Animals

The situation of 400 adolescents housed in the Federal District’s Specialized Juvenile Care Center (CAJE) troubles the Organization of American States (OAS).

This month, based on a report submitted by the Center for the Defense of the Rights of Children and Adolescents in the Federal District (CEDECA), the OAS determined six measures for the federal government to take to protect the lives of the adolescents.

Through its Inter-American Human Rights Commission, the OAS demands the elimination of overcrowding in the CAJE; the application of at least minimal standards of socio-educational correction, such as the decentralization of detention facilities; and the implementation of medical care and educational activities.

The organization also demands measures to ensure the protection and security of the inmates, including separation according to the seriousness of their crimes, sex, and age. Another step calls for the adolescents to be placed in detention centers close to where their parents live.

According to CEDECA lawyer, Climene Quirido, there were seven deaths in Federal District detention units between 2004 and 2005. "They are treated like animals, not human beings in the phase of development, with a minimal right to a decent development," Quirido remarks.

The lack of specialized medical care, overcrowding, the lack of adequate conditions of hygiene, and the lack of vocational activities are among the main problems identified by the CEDECA in its report to the Inter-American Commission.

CEDECA coordinator, Perla Ribeiro, underscores the lack of psychiatric treatment for the detained adolescents.

The federal government will have 30 days to respond to the international body. The time frame for the measures to be adopted is six months, with the right to a six-month extension. In the coming days the government is expected to press the Federal District to comply with the measures.

If nothing is done, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission can rule in favor of imposing moral sanctions or even economic penalties on Brazil, according to the CEDECA lawyer.

Agência Brasil

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