UNODC Brazil Information Material on Detention Control Hearings in indigenous languages to be launched in State of Amazonas

Brasilia, 26 April 2022 – The launch of information material on detention control hearings in Nheengatu, Baniwa and Tukano languages was held on 29 April in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Amazonas, considered to be the most indigenous city by population in Brazil, in an in-person event.

Eight posters were translated in partnership with the Federation of Indigenous Organizations of the Rio Negro (FOIRN) and the Socio-environmental Institute (ISA) from the Portuguese versions, previously launched in 2021. The expansion of the translation to other languages is already under discussion.

The action for qualification and expansion of pre-trial detention hearings is part of the Doing Justice Programme (Fazendo Justiça), a partnership among the National Council of Justice (CNJ) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety (MJSP/DEPEN), and focuses on challenges in the field of imprisonment. The programme has the special partnership and assistance of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in strengthening the pre-trial detention hearing in almost all the Brazilian Federation Units. Since 2015, when custody hearings began in Brazil, the CNJ has counted at least 900,000 held in the country.

According to the most recent data from the National Penitentiary Department, there are around 670,000 people in prisons in Brazil, including 3,100 indigenous people. However, in regions with a predominantly indigenous population - as is the case for São Gabriel da Cachoeira, with a 74% of indigenous population, according to data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) - the language barrier was identified as one of the most significant challenges in promoting the rights of arrested people.

"Eliminating language barriers to indigenous people goes beyond respect for diversity, representing a necessary alignment with national and international norms so that these Brazilians know their rights," explains the supervisor of the Department of Monitoring and Supervision of the Prison System and the System for Execution of Socio-Educational Measures of the CNJ, counselor Mauro Martins. In 2019, the CNJ approved Resolution 287 on indigenous persons accused, convicted, or deprived of liberty which, among other things, addresses the need for interpreters. 

Through the Doing Justice Programme, the CNJ and partner agencies have taken 28 actions aimed at improving different stages of the criminal and juvenile justice cycles and supporting local public authorities to qualify the gateway to the prison system. These initiatives include national actions for civil identification for documentation purposes and programs to promote access to jobs and income, reading, sports, and leisure. Also, it contains measures aimed at people released from criminal and juvenile justice systems and the development and expansion of electronic systems for managing judicial proceedings.

Find out more about Programa Fazendo Justiça here.


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