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Disturbing photos from Brazilian Prison

As you might know from time to time we put some serious stuff in our issues! Today is not an exception. Below are some photos of the Brazilian prison that leave a mixed impression. On the one hand, the photos are quite professional and therefore interesting to look at. On the other, the reality they depict is very sad!

There are serious issues in regard to abuses of human rights in Brazil. Brazil had a remarkably poor record during the dictatorship of the 1960s, and still has many problems today. These include the use of police brutality, corruption, torture and summary executions by civil and military police and prison authorities. In the recent years, the 1992 Carandiru Massacre is considered the major violation of the human rights in Brazil.

Prisoner violence

Brazil’s prisons are overcrowded and unhealthy, there are now over 300,000 inmates. Beatings, torture and killings by prison guards occur throughout the prison system. Children are abused in the juvenile justice system. According to the Ministry of Justice 13,489 under 18s are in detention. Humans are producing waste, and then smothering other human beings face in their feces until suffocated and dead.

Prison overcrowding results in a prominent occurrence of prison violence and murder as well as frequent revolts and escapes. In order to deal with these problems, prison administrations often divide prison populations according to gang affiliation. According to Global Justice, there have been claims of gang affiliation being assigned.

Living space, food, and cleanliness conditions are inhumane and bribery for privileges and transfers is rampant.

In December 2007, a case of prison gang rape in Pará brought media attention to the condition of human rights in the Brazil prison system.

Summary executions and police violence

Police violence is one of the most internationally recognized human rights abuses in Brazil. The problem of urban violence focuses on the perpetual struggle between police and residents of high crime favelas such as the areas portrayed in City of God. Police response in many parts of Brazil is extremely violent, including summary execution and torture of suspects. According to Global Justice, in 2003, the police killed 1,195 people in the State of Rio de Janeiro alone. In the same year 45 police officers were killed. Police violence is often reacted to by local communities and trafficking groups with demonstrations and violent resistance, causing escalation and multiplying victims. Unofficial estimates show there are over 3000 deaths annually from police violence in Brazil, according to Human Rights Watch. There are constant complaints of racism, abuses, torture, executions and disappearances. Not all states record police killings or keep accurate statistics.

Torture

Torture in Brazil is widespread and systematic according to the ex-UN Special Rapporteur. Occurrence of police torture accompanies murder or effecting intimidation and extortion. Torture has also been widely reported in detention centers and mental institutions.

Agrarian violence and oppression

The agrarian struggle in Brazil is manifold, touching on the topics of deforestation, dam building, eviction, squatting, and wildlife smuggling. The enormous Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil involves large and migrating homeless populations. Landowners resort to assassins and death squads to drive and intimidate landless populations from their land. Other cases of agrarian human rights violations involve government takings, such as for various hydroelectric operations across Brazil. Wealthy international corporations have enormous bargaining power and often refuse to remunerate displaced populations upon the flooding of their ancestral homes. Further agrarian violence arises from smugglers of exotic animals, wood, and other minerals from extracting contraband from forest or agrarian areas.

Slave Labor and Labor Exploitation

Slavery and labor situations like depression era company towns still exist in remote areas in Brazil like the Amazon (A fictional portrayal of such a town occurs in The Rundown).

“Debt slavery” (where workers are forced to work in order to pay an ever-increasing debt) still exists in some rural areas, though it is illegal and the government actively fights against it

The “debt slavery” is particularly worryingly in large sugar cane farms, since sugar cane is a raw material for Ethanol, a product that the Brazilian government is currently actively encouraging the production and research.

Indigenous violence

As deforestation companies move in to take advantage of the large area of space the Amazon offers, indigenous tribes that live in the forest are attacked or subject to violence. Drugs and diseases are introduced into the tribes because of the people moving in on the terrain. In order to protect the land that is rightly theirs, many indigenous people attack the new arrivals – who fight back – which leads to violence and deaths.

Impunity

In line with the military government’s negotiated impunity upon the return of Brazil to democracy, impunity continues to derail human rights prosecution. Police and prison violence is often covered up or ignored by authorities. Police officers who are imprisoned often serve in privileged security positions inside Brazilian prisons. Brazilian politics are also rife with impunity, continued through dismissal of overzealous officials and pointed bureaucratic oversight.

Violence against human rights defenders

Many human rights defenders who have arisen to oppose human rights violations and their families and friends suffer violence and persecution across Brazil. Telephone death threats are prominent and often followed through by ambush or assassination. Government officials, attorneys, union leaders and even religious leaders have often been targeted, as with Antonio Fernandez Saenz affair. The danger of human rights defense entered the world press with the murder of Dorothy Stang in 2005 and Chico Mendes in 1998.

Sources: Human Rights Watch, Global Justice, Pastoral Land Commission

Comments

  1. Chances an American is in prison: 1 in 140
    Chances a Brazilian is in prison: 1 in 590

  2. I’m brazilian. I’m not proud of the prison conditions in my country. But in a Maquiavelic way it should be like this. Human rights for kidnappers, rapers, drug dealers and murderes? I don’t think so. Prison must be hell, that way you think twice before doing something ilegal.

  3. I’m a brasilian too…I think it is still little, there should be such as Texas, death penalty enough for this bunch of rapist thieves, bandits, robbers, drug addicts, if I were God for a day, ended with this bunch of bastards

    human rights, serve only to humans, and these guys are in cages, because they are animals, not humans, are worse than animals because animals only kill for if food, they kill to see you down!

  4. col.smith says:

    The rights you complain about are there to protect YOU! The law can not choose who has rights and who does not. These rights must apply to everyone or they mean NOTHING!
    The rights of the accused are there so that the police can not just lock you up because they don’t like the look of you. It is frightening to me to think I could end up in a place like that just because I got caught up in a police raid of a disco somewhere and before I can get myself out I am beaten, raped and then murdered.

  5. Luis Vedolin says:

    I’m also Brazilian.
    I agree with col.smith; all should be equal under the laws (but when you are a victim, you tend to think in instant “vendetta”).

    Personally I think that as long as we are concerned in punishment, instead of solving the real problem (education, in a ample context), this will continue to happen here.

    Our colonial-exploratory cultural origins, the take all you can from others (“be smarter, the other are ‘dumb'”) way of thinking is the cause of our problems. People still prefer not to look at the poor children of today, rather to cast them away of society tomorrow.

    If the society continue doing the same things, they will have the same results.

  6. Wake up to one word : rehabilitation

    If you point the finger at these guys, remember there’s three fingers pointing back at you.

    Our destinies are inseparable and the worst crime perpetrated by any one of us, serves to diminish the stature of us all. Show some compassion and recognise that these are people too, no matter how abused they have been.

    If you want to call these guys ‘animal’ then go and take a good long look in the mirror : it takes one to know one.

  7. I’m Singapore. I’m proud of the prison conditions in your country. But in a Maquiavelic way it should be like this. Human rights for kidnappers, rapers, drug dealers and murderes? I think, Prison must be hell, that way you think twice before doing something ilegal.I think it is still little, there should be such as Texas, death penalty enough for this bunch of rapist thieves, bandits, robbers, drug addicts, if I were God for a day, ended with this bunch of bastards

    Human rights, serve only to humans, and these guys are in cages, because they are animals, not humans, are worse than animals because animals only kill for if food, they kill to see you down!

  8. How can the wealthy and powerful of any place on earth force imprisonment on people in this way.I feel so horrible to see just those photos.That kind of abuse can never result in deterrence.

  9. To Lagan: I say,just because those prisoners are treated like animals doesnt make them animals.

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