Response to murder of Marielle Franco
Sir, – With reference to the article “Murder of councillor raises questions about politics and policing” (March 21st), by Tom Hennigan, it is relevant to comment on the recent murder of Marielle Franco, Rio de Janeiro’s city councillor, and of her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, a crime that has shocked and saddened the whole Brazilian nation, which is now in grief.
First, let me assure you that the Brazilian government is paying close attention to the investigations being led by the competent authorities in order to bring light to the circumstances involving the above-mentioned murder.
The minister for human rights, Gustavo Rocha, has reinforced the request by the federal government for thorough and rigorous investigations in the case. Furthermore, the federal government has offered assistance of the federal police to the local authorities responsible for investigating the murder, if they so desire.
In this very difficult and challenging moment, the government and the civil society are united in an effort to seek concrete solutions to the security problems, bearing in mind the need to fully respect human rights.
While recognising that states and municipalities have the primary constitutional responsibility for ensuring public safety in Brazil, the federal government supports local and regional initiatives, both financially and with the use of the security forces, as required.
I would like to clarify that the recent decision to authorise federal intervention in the area of public security in the state of Rio de Janeiro was taken with the consent of the state government and the approval by the Brazilian National Congress. This decision was also taken in consultation with the Republic and National Defence Councils, composed by ministers, public authorities, parliamentarians and representatives of civil society.
The federal intervention in Rio is an exceptional measure provided for by the Brazilian constitution in view of the serious situations of public disturbance.
To cope with the present deterioration of public security, the Brazilian government has also decided to establish the public safety ministry, which will co-ordinate and enhance integration of public safety services throughout the country. On February 26th, the ministry of human rights published a decree establishing the Human Rights Observatory for the Federal Intervention in the state of Rio de Janeiro. This new body – ObservaRIO – will be in charge of monitoring the compliance in respect for human rights by the security forces in Rio.
Furthermore, the ObservaRio and the National Human Rights Ombudsman will be monitoring closely the investigation under way concerning this crime.
Finally, let me emphasise that the government of the Federative Republic of Brazil understands that the underlying causes of violence and crime must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, taking into consideration the need to promote social justice and to protect all human rights, in accordance with all international human rights obligations. – Yours, etc,
Ambassador of Brazil