Violence, evictions, and extrajudicial killings lead in the Pan Am Games 07
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Violence, evictions, and extrajudicial killings lead in the Pan Am Games 07

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July 5, 2007

The Pan Am Games, set to begin in Rio de Janeiro next week, is expected to bring an increase of violence—particularly against the people living in the slums of Rio. Since the beginning of the year, military/police violence has dramatically increased, with the support of a National Security Force that’s been employed specifically for the games.

One recent incident occured on June 27, when an armed police force ordered “not to take any prisoners,” executed 19 people. There is also a further concern that, since this recent “operation” was officially sanctioned, that it will become a standard…

According to an article on, the next slaughtering already has a date: “according to the Security Secretary, Jose Mariano Beltrame, Rocinha and another four slums will have similar operations. More information .

During the games, some 7000 troops aided by 18,000 Police officers will be on the streets.

Stop Massacres

We, the people of Brazil, find totally unacceptable the governmental policy in relation to the favela Morro do Alemão which has been subjected to continuous invasion by police and military units over the past two months under the pretence of combating drug traffic. We invite you to take issue with this honorable cause.

The referred policy completely ignores the fundamental rights of the favelas’ population. It does not take into account the governments’ duty of assuring constitutional elemental rights such as the presumption of innocence of people that are being killed because presumed guilty without due process of law in a country where there is no death penalty: the recent results of such government policy in Morro do Alemão show the deaths of over twenty people, including women and children.

Residents of areas affected by drug traffic violence have no governmental protection and this results in a policy of massacre of unarmed people. If this were a war, as frequently declared by the authorities of the State of Rio de Janeiro, endorsed by national mass media, it would at least have to obey the directives of the Geneva Convention, and the civil population and the military targets would have to be clearly differentiated. Therefore, even taking into consideration this absurd hypothesis, the actions carried out by Rio authorities against unspecified targets in heavily populated areas result in a flagrantly illegal and criminal action against its habitants.

We are indignant and want to declare our revulsion with regard to these operations allegedly for the combat of crime. The election of the authorities of the State of Rio does not guarantee the right of this government to decide by force who is to live or die in favelas or in other marginalized areas. We protest and demand that the govern interrupts what we understand to be the formalization of a policy of massacre in Rio de Janeiro, as well as demanding full access to the data about victims and the responsibility to be investigated and prosecuted. We understand that the Pan American Games are approaching and that the occasion requires planning for security. That, however, does not justify a series of actions that seems to be nothing more than organized massacres.

If you want to take up this cause, please send an e-mail to with your name and institution/social movement/NGO, and your signature will be added to this document. We would be grateful if you could help us by forwarding this communication to as many people as possible.

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