UN-Supported Initiative Advocates Against Police Violence in Brazil
Photo courtesy of Conectas Human Rights Project
19 June 2024

UN-Supported Initiative Advocates Against Police Violence in Brazil

UN-Supported Initiative Advocates Against Police Violence in Brazil

In Brazil, a transformative project implemented by Conectas Human Rights, a United Nations Democracy Fund partner, alongside its implementing partners, Center for Anthropology and Forensic Archeology at the Federal University of São Paulo (CAAF/UNIFESP) and Movimento Independente Mães de Maio, is making significant strides in advocating against police violence. This initiative has recently marked two key events: a training on the production of audiovisual material held for mothers or family members of victims of police violence and the first National Meeting of the “Strengthening the Reach and Impact of Human Rights Movements in Brazil” project. These gatherings focused on supporting a group of determined mothers affected by police brutality from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Ceará to build knowledge and skills in human rights advocacy.

The series began with a five-day workshop aimed at equipping the participants with crucial audiovisual skills. Led by Professor Angela Torresan, a specialist in visual anthropology, participants were taught to effectively use cell phone cameras to document and share their experiences. The workshop combined theoretical lessons with practical exercises to practice new skills in real-world settings. This hands-on approach not only improved participants’ technical capabilities but also enhanced their confidence in telling their stories, preparing them for active roles in advocacy.

Following the workshop, the first National Meeting of the project - idealized by Movimento Independente Mães de Maio - convened at UNIFESP. This meeting served as a platform for trained mothers to collaborate and engage with key stakeholders including academics, human rights activists, and government representatives. The event featured compelling discussions led by figures such as Débora Silva, Co-founder of Movimento Independente Mães de Maio, Raiane Assumpção, Dean at UNIFESP, and Morris Tidball-Binz, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, and emphasized the importance of civil society in shaping public policy and addressing police violence. 

Nívia Raposo, a project participant, mentioned: "These women, mothers, are fighting for their children, young people who were taken too soon. These were young people who had a lot of power, who could have been occupying a place at this university, who could have been a councilman, a mayor, a governor, perhaps a president, because they had potential”.

UN-Supported Initiative Advocates Against Police Violence in Brazil

By collectively articulating audiovisual training and advocacy spaces with key stakeholders, this project is gathering mothers and families of victims of police violence from different regions of Brazil aiming to place their agenda at the center of public debate. This ensures the rights of memory, reparation, and non-repetition. The movement of mothers and family members of victims of police violence keeps their demands for justice alive, along with their efforts to support each other as they courageously fight against organized state violence.

Photo courtesy of Conectas Human Rights Project