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'Making peace or pacifying?' : contribution to a Roundtable on crime and human rights in Brazil: the police pacification units

O'Donnell, Therese (2012) 'Making peace or pacifying?' : contribution to a Roundtable on crime and human rights in Brazil: the police pacification units. Human Rights and Human Welfare.

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Abstract

Notions of a culture of impunity surrounding the violence perpetrated by the Brazilian police have lingered ever since the largely unsuccessful prosecutions of those suspected to be involved in the notorious Candelária massacre of 1993. Eight young people, six of whom were under eighteen, were killed by an adult group comprised of several members of the police. Despite the security forces coming under increasing scrutiny ever since, the 2005 Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee on Brazil's Periodic Report made disheartening reading. The Committee expressed its continuing concerns regarding the widespread use of excessive force by Brazilian law enforcement officials and their torture and ill treatment of suspects and detainees, which sometimes included extrajudicial executions. A lack of due diligence in investigation undoubtedly contributed to the creation of a "climate of impunity". It was particularly unfortunate that the poor and dispossessed seemed to be the prime targets of such abuses of power.