World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Police abuses and impunity threatens to mar World Cup


Brazil: Dangerous brew of police abuses and impunity threatens to mar World Cup


Protesters taking to the streets across Brazil during the upcoming World Cup risk facing indiscriminate police and military violence as the country steps up efforts to control demonstrations, Amnesty International said a week before the start of the tournament.

“Brazil’s deficient policing record, reliance on the military to police demonstrations, lack of training and an atmosphere of impunity creates a dangerous cocktail in which the only losers are peaceful protesters,” said Grant Bayldon, Executive Director at Amnesty International New Zealand

“The 2014 World Cup will be a crucial test for authorities in Brazil. They must use this opportunity to step up their game and ensure the security forces policing demonstrations during the tournament refrain from committing any more human rights violations,” said Grant Bayldon.

Amnesty International’s report ‘They use a strategy of fear’: Protecting the right to protest in Brazil analyses the catalogue of abuses committed by the security forces in the past year.

They include the indiscriminate use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters, arbitrary arrests and the misuse of laws to stop and punish those who had taken to the streets. These tactics which are expected to continue during the tournament.

Today, Amnesty International’s activists in Brasilia are presenting federal authorities with tens of thousands of “yellow cards” signed by individuals from across the world, including New Zealand, as a warning that the authorities must respect the right to protest peacefully.

“The world is sending a clear message to the Brazilian authorities: protesting is not a crime, it is a human right. Instead of using violence to crush protests, the government and the security forces have the responsibility to ensure people can speak their minds safely and without fear of injury or arrest,” said Grant Bayldon.

Since June 2013, thousands of Brazilians have taken to the streets in unprecedented mass protests. They have complained about increases in public transportation costs, high World Cup spending and insufficient investment in public services.

Hundreds were injured in cities across the country after military police fired rubber bullets at people who posed no threat and beat individuals with hand-held batons.

Professional photographer Sérgio Silva, 32, lost his left eye after being hit by a rubber bullet at a protest against a bus fare hike in São Paulo on 13 June 2013.

Silva, who is married with two children, now finds it very difficult to work. He never received an official explanation, apology or offer of compensation from the authorities.

Military police units also used tear gas on peaceful protesters — in one case even firing a gas canister inside a hospital in Rio de Janeiro.

Hundreds were also indiscriminately rounded up and detained, some under laws targeting organized crime, without any evidence that they were involved in criminal activity.

Humberto Caporalli, 24, was arrested and charged under the National Security Law after taking part in a demonstration for education in São Paulo on 7 October 2013.

At the police station, he was pressured to give the officers in charge the password to his Facebook account, so that they could check what he had been posting. He was then detained for two days before a judge granted him release on bail.

Brazilian legislators are also debating a range of proposed laws that will likely further restrict the right to peaceful protest.

A draft counter-terrorism law, currently before the National Congress, will establish a broad definition of terrorism that would, for example, include damage to goods and essential services as an act of terrorism. There is concern that, if passed, it could be misused against peaceful protesters.

“As the world focuses attention on Brazil, authorities must publicly pledge not to use excessive force against demonstrators and investigate abuses. Anything less will be giving carte blanche to the security forces to commit more human rights abuses,” said Grant Bayldon.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Support Needed For Olive Farmers In Palestinian Territory

Olive trees in the Palestinian town of Ni'lin in 2008 were very close to expanding Israeli settlements. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold More>>

ALSO:

Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement May Violate Human Rights

22 October 2014 – The increasing use of armed drones within domestic law enforcement risks depersonalizing the use of force and infringing upon the rights of individual citizens, a United Nations independent human rights expert warned today. More>>

Gaza: Pledges For Aid, Reconstruction Must Be Honoured

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Security Council President for the month of October, María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, is at ... More>>

Ebola: UN Prepares For Arrival Of Trial Vaccines

In early October 2014, with the help of the US Navy, a new mobile laboratory opened at Island Clinic, one of the WHO-supported Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: WHO/R. Sørenson More>>



Palestine: Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahmah Found Guilty

Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahma was found guilty by an Israeli military court of “disturbing a soldier”. More>>

NCRI: Iran: 13 Executions In One Day

The henchmen of the clerical regime hanged 13 prisoners on Sunday October 19, 2014 in Ghezel-Hessar Karaj Prison, Tabriz Central Prison and Rasht Central Prison. More>>

MSF: Ebola Crisis Update - 16th October 2014

16 October 2014 Cases Deaths Guinea 1,472 843 Liberia 4,249 2,458 Nigeria 20 8 Sierra Leone 3,252 1,183 Senegal 1 0 Total 8,994 4,492 WHO Figures - Data are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health. These numbers are subject to change ... More>>

ALSO:

Detroit: City-Backed Water Shut-Offs Contrary To Human Rights

20 October 2014 – The city of Detroit must restore access to water for its citizens who remain unable to pay their bills, two United Nations experts urged today, adding that a failure to do so would be a violation of the most basic human rights of those ... More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news