UN Countries Recommend Abolition of Brazil’s Military Police

For original article in Carta Capital in Portuguese click here.

A report released in 2012 by the U.N. Council on Human Rights asked Brazil to make more of an effort to combat the activities of “death squads” in the country. According to the E.F.E. news agency, the U.N. also asked the Brazilian government to work toward the elimination of the Military Police, which is accused of numerous extrajudicial killings. The document is part of the Universal Periodic Review, an evaluation to which all member states are subject.

Spain also recommended that the armed forces be warned against immoderate use of force. Photo: André Lessa/AE

Various nations made recommendations to the Brazilian government. The abolition of the military police was suggested by Denmark, which asked that more efficient measures be taken to reduce the incidence of extrajudicial executions. South Korea spoke directly of the existence of “death squads,” while Australia suggested that the governments of other Brazilian states consider adopting Pacifying Policy Units similar to those created in Rio de Janeiro. Spain requested a review of human rights training programs for security forces. It warned them against the immoderate use of force, which should be applied in accordance with principles of necessity and proportionality.

The report emphasizes the need for Brazil to guarantee that all crimes committed by law enforcement officials be independently investigated, and urges the country to combat the impunity of those committing crimes against judges and human rights activists.

“Keep working on strengthening the truth-finding process,” recommended Paraguay. Argentina called for “renewed efforts to guarantee the right to the truth for victims of serious human rights violations and their families.” France requested that the Truth Commission, created in November 2011, be provided with the resources necessary to secure victims’ right to justice.

Many of the delegations also agreed on recommendations in favor of improved penitentiary conditions, particularly for women, who are often victims of new abuses upon arrest. A reform to the penitentiary system was therefore suggested, to reduce overcrowding and improve living conditions for people deprived of their liberty.

Looking ahead, Canada asked for guarantees that the urban restructuring underway in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games “be duly regulated to prevent displacements and evictions.”