Extrajudicial killings by police threaten over-all security in Rio de Janeiro, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] said in a 109-page report [materials] released Thursday. HRW says officials have “not done enough” [press release] to address these executions ahead of the summer Olympics. An estimated 8,000 people have been killed by police in Rio de Janiero in the past decade—645 of those people in 2015 alone. While contending that officers in the state frequently encounter heavily-armed opposition, thus justifying the use of force at times, HRW claims that many other deaths were extrajudicial in nature. Through interviews with police in the region, HRW has said that many officers do not reporting the killings for fear of their own safety and the safety of their families. The state has taken steps to improve the situation, including creating a prosecutorial unit dealing exclusively with abuses by law enforcement. HRW urges the state to do more.
Police abuses have become a global issue in recent months. Earlier this week in the US Democrats in Congress called for hearings [JURIST report] in the wake of police shootings of Alton Sterling [WP report] and Philando Castile [CNN report], two black men. This same month in Kenya authorities detained three police officers [JURIST report] for their involvement in the murder of a human rights lawyer. In May the UN said that detainees in Sri Lanka are still experiencing torture [JURIST report] as a tactic used by criminal and terrorism investigators seven years after the country’s civil war ended. Those observations echo those of HRW, which reported in October that police forces in Sri Lanka regularly torture [JURIST report] and mistreat criminal suspects in custody.