3 September 2020

It's like Brazil is in a civil war. 

In Brazil, the police behave as in the civil war and repeatedly target innocent people.
In Brazil, the police behave as in the civil war and repeatedly target innocent people.

Conditions in Brazil are like those of the civil war. Every day innocent people are killed by bullets from police and drug gangs. Among the dead are also many young people and children. A big problem are the political hardliners who give the police a free hand. For many officials, the population in the favelas is under general suspicion.

In the Brazilian favelas, children and young people risk being injured or even killed every day. In the streets of the slums, a war is raging between drug gangs and the Brazilian military police, claiming numerous innocent victims. Officially, 41635 people were killed in Brazil last year.

Many of these killings were committed by the police - often in an irresponsible manner. A quiet suspicion and a thoughtless move is enough for the police to start shooting at an innocent person. Again and again, military police open fire in densely populated areas, accepting injuries from ricochets and misses.

So died the eight-year-old Agatha Felix from the Favela Complexo do Alemão in Rio on 21 September 2019. on her way home from a costume party, she was sitting - still dressed up - next to her mother on the bus when a bullet hit her in the back. A little later the girl died of the injury. A military policeman had fired at a suspicious motorcyclist next to the bus, accidentally wounding little Agatha fatally.

Politicians encourage violence

The national and international outcry fired the Brazilian #BlackLivesMatter movement. Under pressure, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro, the commander of the military police, had to comment on the case. He defended his officers and let them continue shooting. Even from helicopters above the dense corrugated iron roofs, the police continue to fire at suspects. As if Brazil was in a civil war.

He is thus following the policy of Jair Bolsonaro, who wants to let criminals die "like cockroaches". The Brazilian president is fighting for general impunity when a police officer shoots "out of fear, surprise or violent emotion". This is what the news agency Reuters writes. Last Christmas, Bolsonaro pardoned police officers who had wounded or killed innocent people - in one case even off-duty. "They should not be brought to trial, but decorated with medals," Bolsonaro was quoted as saying.

In the middle of this reality, the young people of our Partner projects CIPÓ in Salvador in the Brazilian state of Bahia. Here the same conditions prevail for black youth as in the favelas in Rio. They are not satisfied with this and they defend themselves against racism and police violence. They protest publicly and visibly for a safe and just society and succeed.

Like our Partner Project CIPÓ you can find out more in the following film and in the current Magazine (3/2020) read more about the situation in Brazil.

Gun violence in Brazil's favelas
In Brazil's slums, racist police violence is the order of the day. But the resistance among the population is growing. Page 4

"A wound that never heals"
The interview of a young volunteer of our partner organisation with a grieving mother. Page 7

Not only in Brazil, but also in our other project countries violence is part of everyday life. No teenager or young person should have to live in such conditions. Every weapon makes the situation even worse.
That is why we demand: No arms exports to countries like this!

Please also read

Young people against violence: "Global Action Month" in November also in Switzerland

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YES to a credible peace policy

Today, September 15, the National Council debated the corrective initiative. To the great delight of the Alliance against Arms Exports to Civil War Countries, the National Council and the Council of States have taken up and implemented all their core concerns. The initiative, for which terre des hommes switzerland is campaigning, will therefore be withdrawn. A great day for a credible peace policy. Now it is a matter of keeping a close eye on the implementation of the proposed legislation.

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Correction initiative: withdrawal possible

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