Conflict & Justice

Brazil's police receive human rights training

A top drug trafficker recently gave an interview on Brazilian TV. He says if the police come into his neighborhood he will shoot to kill, because the police often react quite strongly. This gun control activist is convinced the first step to reducing the violence is to give Rio's police a primer on ethics and human rights. On Saturday, 35 of Rio's finest are seated at this voluntary lecture. The gun control activist lectured them on notions of human rights and absolute power, and then he brought up the touchy issue of police corruption, of which 80% of the police officers in Rio have been implicated. Afterwards, the activist said it's a touchy subject. Another complication is Brazil's labor code which makes it difficult to fire Brazil's police officers, even if implicated in corruption. Many in Rio's middle and lower class neighborhoods fear the police's special task force, but this former task force officer says the media has given the task force an unfairly bad name. He does praise programs designed to reeducate the police including the one including this newest class, but he thinks the real concern is that there aren't enough law enforcement officers. Brazil's President has addressed the issue of violence through government laws meant to address social welfare and poverty and he had promised a more holistic approach to reducing violence.

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