Amnesty Probes Charges of Violence Against Women in Brazil

Tim Cahill and Patrick Wilcken, who represent Amnesty International, are participating today, June 12, in a public hearing in the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco legislative assembly in Recife.

The purpose is to discuss charges of human rights violations in the state, mainly against women. The meeting is sponsored by the National Human Rights Movement.

Cahill and Wilcken will spend the week in Recife, where they plan to meet with members of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the judiciary, state departments of Justice and Social Defense, and representatives of human rights organizations and community associations. The topics that will be discussed are public safety, urban violence, and social exclusion.

One of the main criticisms of Brazil appearing in the Amnesty International Report 2006, released earlier this year, has to do with abuses, such as torture, mistreatment, and assassination, committed by the Brazilian police. The document is based on investigations conducted in 2005.

According to Amnesty, Federal and state police officers were involved in criminal and corrupt activities, as well as in murders committed by the so-called "death squad," which the international human rights organization says includes both active and retired police officers. According to the report, records show that the police killed 9,000 people between 1999 and 2004.

"The investigation of these homicides remains minimal," the text states. The document underscores the campaign against torture launched by the federal government in December.

Nevertheless, Amnesty says that in 2005 it received information about torture in juvenile detention centers administered by the São Paulo State Youth Welfare Foundation (FEBEM).

The international human rights organization also emphasizes the awful conditions in prisons when it comes to sanitary facilities and the lack of medical services. These conditions favor the outbreak of riots and the high degree of violence among inmates.

ABr

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