In the Dark
Hidden Abuses Against Detained Youths in Rio de Janeiro
When Human Rights Watch last visited Rio de Janeiro’s five juvenile detention centers, in July and August 2003, we found a system that was decaying, filthy, and dangerously overcrowded. The facilities we saw did not meet basic standards of health or hygiene. Complaints of beatings and other ill-treatment were routinely ignored by the state’s Department of Socio-Educational Action (Departamento Geral de Ações Sócio-Educativas, DEGASE), the authority responsible for the state’s juvenile detention centers. The system lacked effective oversight; in particular, administrative sanctions against guards were rare, and none of the officials we spoke with knew of any case in which a guard had received a criminal conviction for abusive conduct.
Juvenile Detention in the State of Rio de Janeiro
The 70-page report documents that youths in Rio de Janeiro’s detention centers are often beaten and verbally abused by guards. Most complaints of ill-treatment are never investigated by the state’s Department of Socio-Economic Action (Departamento Geral de Ações Sócio-Educativas, or DEGASE), the authority responsible for juvenile detention facilities. Administrative sanctions against guards are rare and usually take the form of transfers to other detention centers; no guard has ever faced criminal charges for abusive conduct.
Abuses Against Detained Children in Northern Brazil,
Children in northern Brazil are routinely beaten by police and detained in abusive conditions, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today. The release comes on the 100th day of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration. Children face violence at the hands of other youths, are unnecessarily confined to their cells for lengthy periods of time, and often do not receive the schooling to which the Brazilian constitution entitles them, Human Rights Watch said. Brazil is a federation of states, much like the United States, and each state controls its own juvenile detention system. But the federal government has a key role in enforcing the national juvenile justice law. And the federal government can condition its funding of state juvenile detention systems on their compliance with human rights norms. Human Rights Watch's 63-page report, Cruel Confinement: Abuses Against Detained Children in Northern Brazil, is based on interviews with 44 detained youth, as well as dozens of additional interviews with government officials, lawyers, social workers, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations. Human Rights Watch inspected a total of 17 detention facilities, including four girls' detention center, in the states of Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Rondônia, and Pará. Police beatings during and after arrest are common, the report found. Such abuses often occur at police stations, where Brazilian law allows children to be held for up to five days while they await transfer to a juvenile detention facility. In rural areas, where police routinely violate the five-day limit on detention in police lockups, children are at greater risk of police abuse.
Brazil: Child Soldier Global Report 2001
From the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
There are indications of under-18s in government armed forces as the minimum age of voluntary recruitment is 17.
June 12, 2001
Brazil: Landmine Monitor Report 2000
Brazil signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified on 30 April 1999. Brazil's National Congress promulgated it on 5 August 1999 by Decree 3.128. The treaty entered into force for Brazil on 1 October 1999, but it has yet to enact implementation legislation. Brazil has domestic legislation regarding explosives and firearms.
August 1, 2000