Brazil, May 27th, 2022 – The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality), Marielle Franco Institute, Geledés – Black Women’s Institute, Observatório de Favelas, Justiça Global and Casa Fluminense denounce to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the Complexo da Penha Massacre, which took place this Tuesday, May 24, during a police mega-operation in Rio de Janeiro. The communiqué sent to the IACHR calls for the protection of community residents to be guaranteed and for the extensive monitoring of reported situations of violence. So far, there are registered: 25 dead and 07 injured in the Complexo da Penha Massacre.
- 25 people killed were taken to the Getúlio Vargas Hospital.
- 01 body of a woman was taken directly to the Legal Medical Institute (IML)
- 01 person killed was taken to the Emergency Care Unit of Complexo do Alemão with 08 gunshot wounds
- 07 injured were taken to Hospital Getúlio Vargas
This extreme violence reflects the result of the public security policy of the current Governor of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Claudio Castro, who, since his predecessor, Wilson Witzel, does not respect the decision of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) that determined the State must comply with the ADPF 635, known as ADPF das Favelas. Until now, the State Government has not presented any plan to reduce police lethality; it didn’t install GPS equipment, audio and video recording systems in police vehicles or on the uniforms of officers; and as a result of these current massacres, it has set no limits on lethal force. As a result, black bodies, from favelas and outskirts, experience constant scenes of terror and even their homes become a place of fear and insecurity for all families.
According to reports, agents from the Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) and from the Federal Highway Police (PRF) entered the Vila Cruzeiro Complex at 4:00 am, firing shots with helicopters and armored tanks as support. The operation took place throughout the day and, despite the active movement of civil society organizations urging the public authorities for a ceasefire, the operation continued on its terroristic course. In this regard, the signatory organizations urge the IACHR and other international human rights organizations to constantly monitor police violence in Brazil.
It is unacceptable to continue the current security policy that goes against the basic principles of human rights, such as the right of living and housing, in addition to State protection. It must be mentioned: this massacre is yet another demonstration of the structural racism present in the actions of the Brazilian police.
We regret the lives lost and sympathize with the various families of Complexo da Penha, who once more experienced the presence of the State in their territories with violence, deaths, scarcity and tears. In light of the foregoing, we share the requests to the IACHR:
- To publicly comment on this case, through a statement and monitor the situations of violence reported in this document;
- Request the Civil Police of the State of Rio de Janeiro to carry out technical investigations on the spot, with the elaboration of reports on ballistics and possible signs of torture on the bodies, ensuring the duty of publicity of the state’s action;
- Demand that the State (RJ) and Federal Public Ministry investigate the police operation responsible for this massacre, including the specific need to observe possible signs of alteration of the crime scenes, as well as the impediment of residents and activists to manifest about what happened;
- That the State (RJ) and Federal Public Ministry provide information to the families of the victims of the massacre and keep them informed about the investigations;
- Considering what was determined in ADPF 635 regarding the absolute exceptionality in carrying out police operations, that is, the premise that such incursions should only occur in extraordinary situations of immediate and concrete danger to life, which cannot consist of a generic allegation about the current calamitous situation of public security in the State of Rio de Janeiro and/or on the need to repress drug trafficking and criminality, allegations that underlie the human rights violations implicit to public security policy in Brazil. It is requested that the state of Rio de Janeiro be notified of non-compliance with the criteria determined in ADPF 635;
- Maintain direct communication with the Brazilian government inquiring about the measures adopted to combat police violence, considering the numerous cases publicized by the Brazilian press and by the aforementioned civil society organizations.