The Brazilian government has designed and implemented policies intended to bring peace to urban favelas, especially in cities such as Rio de Janeiro. These policies are designed to drive elements of organized crime out of the favelas. Such pacification policies frequently entail the deployment of special Police Pacification Units (UPP) in favelas to combat drug trafficking and general lawlessness. While these policies have been in effect for nearly five years, the pace of deployment has increased because of scrutiny by the international community associated with the fact that the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 summer Olympics will be held in and around Rio de Janeiro.
While many (both in Brazil and abroad) laud the effectiveness of these programs, many questions remain about the implications of deploying such units. Major human rights organizations have questioned the programs, particularly the extensive (and almost exclusive) use of violent means to deal with the problems in favelas. The tactics of UPP units have also been questioned. Critics maintain that the level of violence within favelas where UPP units are deployed has not in fact decreased, and that the human rights of those who live in these favelas are routinely violated by the UPP. Finally, it is commonly asserted that corruption abounds within the UPP.
This international mission is designed to bring together government and police officials who are responsible for designing and implementing these policies with representatives of human rights organizations and scholars who study social violence and its effects. This is a unique opportunity to discuss these policies with the principal officials who must deal with the problems which abound in Rio’s favelas. It is hoped that these discussions will lead to more research on the effects of such policies, and a more wide ranging conversation about the causes and effects of urban violence (by civilians and police).
Fernanda Duarte Lopes Lucas da Silva
Adriana Alves dos Santos Cruz
Taiguara Libano Soares e Souza
David T. Ritchie
Rafael Mario Iorio Filho
The Federal Judicial Cultural Center (CCJF), Rio de Janeiro
The Federal Judges School (EMARF), Rio de Janeiro
The Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi (UFF)
The Catholic University of Petrópolis (UCP), Petrópolis
The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs
The Mercer University School of Law
The Southeastern Association of Law Schools (SEALS)