The massacres of Vigário Geral and Candelária, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1993, appalled the world. The brutal slaughter of unarmed, defenceless and innocent civilians and children was made all the worse when evidence emerged that both massacres had been carried out by members of Rio’s Military Police force, the individuals paid, trained and equipped by the state to protect society from crime and violence. Rio de Janeiro 10 years on shows that little has changed. Amnesty International has found that to be poor in Rio de Janeiro continues to mean being trapped in a cycle of violence, with few, if any places to turn for protection. The policing of poor communities is violent, repressive and often corrupt. Not only are such communities excluded from access to fundamental economic and social rights, but their right to live in peace and security is consistently neglected, or even abused, by the state.
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