HRC51: Brazil must base its public security policy on the principle of protection of life and human rights

On October 4, 2022, during the general debate on item 9 of HRC51, ISHR and LabJaca issued a joint statement highlighting the disproportionate killing of Brazil’s black population, in particular the Jacarezinho massacre last year. Read the joint statement below.

I am Mariana de Paula, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I am a childhood friend of Kathlen Romeu, a young pregnant black woman killed by Rio de Janeiro military police in an illegal raid. I am also one of the founders of LabJaca, an organization in the Jacarezinho favela that aims to collect data and build narratives from the favelas so that stories like Kathlen and her baby’s are not forgotten and that the favela can defend its rights.

Jacarezinho, the most black favela in Rio de Janeiro, faces the murderous and selective absence of the Brazilian state and the weight of structural racism. It lacks fundamental rights such as health, education and leisure. In the last national census, our favela was ranked fourth among the worst Index of human development (HDI) in the city and had the highest tuberculosis rate in the city. We have also witnessed the devastating action of the state supposed to guarantee security and protect life in the favelas. Last year, Jacarezinho was the scene of the deadliest police operation in Rio de Janeiro’s history, which killed 28 people, some with strong signs of execution. Eight months after the massacre, the same police launched the “Integrated City” program, based on the same failed model of police confrontation that does not facilitate dialogue with the community and has led to the collapse of public security in Brazil and to the disproportionate murder of its black population.

In light of the actions of the Brazilian state in the favelas, we call on Brazil to:

  • Base its public security policy on the principle of the protection of life and human rights;
  • Adopt concrete measures to end police impunity and fight against systemic racism in police actions;
  • Put an end to “autos de resistência”;
  • Take objective measures to put an end to police impunity (strengthen the external control bodies, the transparency and speed of judicial processes and recognize a role for civil society);
  • Implement the decision on the use of cameras by the police, while on duty, in Rio and extend to the whole country;
  • Change its drug policy from a failed militarized approach to a health-based approach;
  • Demilitarize its political structures;
  • Reduce investment in military equipment and use these resources to provide reparations to communities victimized by the war on drugs;
  • Guarantee that each public security program must have an equal share of the budget directed towards the social development of territories and vulnerable groups;
  • Create a social-state mechanism that monitors public security actions and guarantees the real implementation of positive social impact counterparts.