Being the most populous nation in Latin America and the 5th most populous in the world, Brazil is continuously facing an immense challenge of providing security to over 200 million citizens. With rising drug trafficking gangs and criminal activities, security forces reach out to tackle such illicit activities through intensive police operations that not only reap benefits but also tragic loss of life, as seen in recent months.
The recent issue that garnered attention was police raids in Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Bahia that took place in the span of a week, killing at least 44 people. The action in Rio De Janeiro alone left nine dead in a police operation targeting criminal gangs. The raid involved authorities receiving intelligence about a high-level meeting by gang leaders and resulted in a clash involving 11 suspects wounded and taken to the hospital, with nine of them succumbing to their injuries. Two police personnel were also reported wounded and stable.
Amidst this, there are demands for independent investigations of alleged police abuses in Brazil. The security forces have been under criticism for their approaches and have been accused of human-rights violations in their fight against drug gangs. With setups like makeshift barricades and deaths of gang leaders, civilians by-and-large have been affected.
With the police operation in Sao Francisco alone resulting in 16 deaths in Sao Paulo and 19 in Northeastern State of Bahia, Brazil’s Ministry of Justice has raised criticism at the reaction and response by police as something that does not seem proportional to the crime committed. Taking this situation into account, activist groups such as Amnesty International have also expressed the concerns by stating that the Sao Paulo operation shows “clear signs of seeking vengeance for the death of a police officer.”
Protests against police brutality have been reported and will soon be put into action to signify the citizens’ concern for the safety of the lives affected by the police’s approach. With a growing trend of similar cases, it is essential to ensure that the authorities take into measure the human rights approach as much as possible and employ tactics that will not endanger lives instead of maintaining their stand against drug traffickers and criminals. It is also essential to keep track of advancing technologies and necessary equipment to stay prepared. For this, the Brazilian Government must actively work towards implementation of appropriate programs to counter the involved socio-economic issues, resulting in some form of assurance for citizens as well as affected parties