Brazilian Human Rights Defender in Brussels – Friday

Marcelo Freixo, a long standing human rights defender arrived in Brussels this Friday, ahead of the EU-Brazil Summit taking place on 6 October.

Mr. Freixo has worked on a range of issues, including denouncing conditions within the prison system and police violence. More recently he has been elected to state parliament where he led a controversial parliamentary inquiry on paramilitary militias active in Rio de Janeiro’s shanty towns (favelas).

The milicias consist of off-duty police officers, prison guards and firemen who have ousted drug dealers from favelas and now control communities with violence, while extorting money for the provision of security, as well as gas, transport, cable TV and other services.

The investigation was carried out under a climate of extreme intimidation and violence. Those who denounced the milicias received death threats and were tortured. There was even one execution in relation to the inquiry.

Currently under police protection, Mr Freixo will be meeting EU officials to raise awareness to the serious public security problems of Brazil, namely the threats against human rights defenders.

Mr. Freixo was available to talk with media this Friday, 25 from 2pm.