Human Rights Minister recognizes critics of UN rapporteur on extrajudicial executions in Brazil

Photo: ABr15 June 2010 - The Minister Paulo Vannuchi, of the Special Secretariat for Human Rights of Brazil, commented the report presented by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, who points out that the daily lives of many Brazilians, especially those living in slums, is still lived in the shadow of violence and killings by criminal gangs, militias, death squads and the police, although important reforms have been undertaken by the Brazilian government.

The document is a progress review in relation to the visit by Philip Alston to Brazil two and a half years ago, when he reported extrajudicial executions of suspected criminals and innocent people by police of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco states, during poorly planned operations in slums. He noted that the current situation in these states has not changed and that the police continue to commit extrajudicial killings at alarming rates. According to Alston, they are professionals who operate out of service in the death squads and militias to act as "vigilante justice" or to barely profit.

According to minister Vannuchi, the assessment of Brazil concerning the work of UN special rapporteurs is to appreciate and to understand the importance of their contribution to the country. "Brazil is able to recognize that there are human rights violations in the country, responding to a long tradition of disobedience, police violence and judicial impunity", the minister said in an interview to UN Radio. "In general, none of the points mentioned by him seem to be without foundation of truth", he added.

Vannuchi underscored the fact that, in general, these criminal groups involve state level civil and military polices and there is almost no complaints involving the federal forces - which, in his view, shows a good indication of progress in federal policies.

Accordingly to the minister, the police should only use lethal force "in those very serious cases with resistance of criminals, and never - as unfortunately happens in Brazil - as a kind of preventive self-defence, shooting before checking what it is about".

"Sadly, the report still points out truths about Brazil", said the minister. He also defended the stance of the latest governments to accept the criticisms and recommendations of this kind of reports. "A democratic government is guided by the recognition of the problems and the concern to recognize protection policies".

Report presented by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston

Minister Paulo Vannuchi's interview to UN Radio (in Portuguese)

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