How is the law enforcement in Brazil

Brazil's president wants criminals to "die like cockroaches in the streets"

In the first half of 2019, a person died every five hours in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro from police shots. Although gang crime, as well as street violence in general, is high and many people are killed in shootings with the police, many human rights defenders are still concerned about the dramatic increase in numbers, which they believe to be driven by the rhetoric of President Jair Bolsonaro burn.

It is "hideous words" that Bolsonaro uses, said the human rights activist Ariel de Castro Alves to the Guardian. Bolsonaro had previously announced under a new police law that "criminals will die like cockroaches in the streets, and that is a good thing". The new law provides for comprehensive protection for the state authorities in the prosecution of suspected criminals. Numerous actions previously classified as illegal would thereby comply with the law. The law has yet to be approved by Congress.

"Unequal Struggle"

The law is necessary because the Brazilian police are waging an "unequal fight" against criminals. If they use their weapons, police officers should "be honored and not brought to justice," said Bolsonaro. "Righteous citizens" would also need greater protection if they had to defend themselves by force of arms, argued the president, which pleased supporters and aroused horror in the opposition.

Alves claims that Bolsonaro's rhetoric has resulted in a significant increase in the number of deaths since he took office on January 1, 2019. One of the reasons why he was successful in the election campaign was because he relied on the tough fight against crime. Most of the people killed were poor, young, black men, Alves analyzes.

In the first half of 2019, there would have been 414 police killings in São Paulo, more than since 2003. In Rio de Janeiro, too, there were 434 kills within the first three months, the highest figure in more than two decades and thus a significant increase. Almost 900 people were killed by gunshots from police rifles by mid-year in the port city of Rio alone. Signs warning of excessive gun violence are now being put up near schools.

Murders are falling, the number of police killings is increasing

While violence in Brazil is generally on the decline - the number of murders fell by 24 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the violence monitor, to the still extremely high level of 10,324 - significantly more people were killed in the previous year, even before Bolsonaro took office Police killed. While there were 5,445 people in 2017, this number rose by almost 18 percent to 6,200 in 2018. "A policeman who doesn't kill is not a policeman," Bolsonaro once said.

"Military-style security operations often leave a death trail in poor regions and do not contribute to general security," warned Human Rights Watch in December 2018. While these are often legitimate killings as a final act of self-protection, the number of so-called extrajudicial killings has also been reported Human Rights Watch expresses concern about the increase in killings in Brazil, that is, those involving or with the approval of governments. (faso, 6/8/2019)