Rising violence in protests is a concern, says UNODC Representative in Brazil

Brasília, 12 February 2014 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) notes with concern the rising violence seen during recent public manifestations in Brazil. According to Rafael Franzini, Representative of the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, the various allegations of violence during the protests are particularly worrying. These acts have drawn the attention of UN mechanisms of human rights protection and have been featured in the press. 

Since June 2013 there has been an increase in the number of violent manifestations in the country. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has urged all parties to commit themselves to prevent the use of excessive force.

Given the use of violence by protesters and allegations of excessive use of force by the police, Franzini reiterates the appeal of the High Commissioner: "People's right to physical integrity, as well as the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful protest, must be respected," said Franzini.

The UNODC Representative in Brazil expects law enforcement to be conducted based on the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the UN General Assembly through resolution 34/169, in line with the main human rights instruments adopted by Member States. Particularly, it is also necessary to protect vulnerable groups and to guard the right to information by protecting journalists, as described in resolution 6/2013 of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Brazilian Presidency.

Following the comment made by Pillay, as well as the one made ​​yesterday by the Regional Representative for South America of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Franzini considers that the manifestations should be civil acts that do not endanger public safety. He also urges protesters not to resort to violence, noting that dialogue and peaceful protests are essential. Finally, Franzini hopes that dialogue and respect for human rights will prevail.

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