January 2012: Crime and Human Rights in Brazil: The Police Pacification Units



Introduction to the Month's Focal Piece Editor's introduction: Crime and Human Rights in Brazil: The Police Pacification Units

Brazil slum raids impress, but what's the impact?” By Bradley Brooks. Huffington Post, November 14, 2011.



Claudia HeissFrom “Iron Fist” Policies to Comprehensive Social Intervention 
by Claudia Heiss

“The models of intervention of the armed forces usually follow policies of iron fist or ‘mano dura’. This implies a militarized vision of social conflict by institutions that have not been sufficiently reformed in order to guarantee their compliance with democratic procedures. Insufficient judicial guarantees and an excessive role of military justice add up to accusations of bribery and corruption, creating an important challenge in the goal of increasing police legitimacy.”


Therese O'DonnellMaking Peace or Pacifying?
by Therese O'Donnell

“Who or what should be pacified by the activities of the UPPs? Such security programs appear to have been accelerated due to Rio de Janeiro’s hosting of the Olympics in 2016 and the final games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Thus, the constituency would seem to be an international one, with an emphasis on self-preservation and international business. Is that so bad if the residents of the slums are happier to see fewer guns? No, it is not so bad, but such quick-fix remedial measures are often expensive and rarely produce permanent structures or solutions.”


Thomas PegramBrazil’s Upcoming “Mega-Events” Human Rights Legacy
by Thomas Pegram

“If sustained, the PPUs might begin to normalize new terms of engagement between the police, drug gangs, and local residents. The PPUs may have been conjured up as a clever ploy for local and international media consumption. Certainly, what is a tentative move in the right direction faces a range of formidable obstacles in terms of resources, institutional resistance, and pervasive mistrust, among others.”


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