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Justiça Global denounces the federal military intervention in Rio de Janeiro to the UN and the OAS

Justiça Global has sent a report to the United Nations and the Organization of American States (OAS) denouncing the military intervention decreed by the Federal Government in the State of Rio de Janeiro.  The document sets out the various irregularities in the decree that instituted the intervention and signals its absolute incompatibility with the international treaties and conventions of which Brazil is a signatory.  Given the gravity of the measure and its probable consequences, the report requests the creation of a channel for permanent dialogue between international bodies and Brazilian civil society dedicated to the criticism, monitoring and reporting of this exceptional measure, as well as a public demonstrations from international bodies regarding the rights violations in the country.

For Justiça Global the institutional breakdown established by the intervention measure is part of a wider context of the loosening of constitutional guarantees, the country’s democratic principles and social policies, undertaken by a government with a deficit of popular support and political legitimacy. The gravity of this measure therefore threatens the rights and individual guarantees of the entire population of Rio de Janeiro, particularly its black and poor populations, the residents of favelas and urban peripheries.

The international report forms part of a context of the wide-scale mobilization of civil society against military intervention.  Growing concern about the violations that it may trigger is accentuated in the light of previous instances of the use of the Armed Forces as public security agents in the city and state of Rio de Janeiro.  The document sent to international bodies recalls some examples of this tragic distortion of the constitutional functions of military troops, such as the invasion of the Rocinha favela in September 2017 and the military operation in November of the same year in the Salgueiro favela in São Gonçalo.

“The use of the Armed Forces for public security in the city of Rio de Janeiro has become a constant feature of the period of redemocratization.  This practice has promoted a veritable festival of human rights violations, particularly for the black and poor populations”, asserts Sandra Carvalho, Coordinator of Justiça Global.  “One of the most striking points in our report is the fact that the Constitution does not authorize the transfer of the political authority of the state from the civil to the military sphere, only from the state to the federal sphere.  In its definition that ‘the role of the Intervenor is of a military nature’, the intervention decree is an affront to the constitutional order,” Sandra concludes.

The report highlights two episodes that demonstrate the gravity and need for vigilance regarding the transfer of power to a military commander.  The first refers to a declaration by the Commander of the Brazilian Army that “the military needs a guarantee to act without risk of the emergence of a new Truth Commission”, referring to the National Truth Commission which was responsible for the investigation and documentation of the crimes committed by agents of the Brazilian State during the military dictatorship. The other, equally serious, episode consists of the message from the Chief of the Brazilian Army’s Centre of Social Communication regarding the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro, aimed at all the country’s military organizations, which transmitted the following message from the Commander of the Army to his troops: “The Commander of the Army understands that the solution will demand the commitment, synergy and sacrifice of the constitutional powers, of the institutions and, possibly, of the population”.

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