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UA 106/93 - Brazil: Ill-treatment of children / fear of reprisals: at least 40 inmates of the Foundation for the Welfare of Minors (FEBEM)

, N° d'index: AMR 19/011/1993

On 30 March 1993 at least 40 children and adolescents, inmates at the State Foundation for the Welfare of Minors were subjected to beatings and other forms of ill-treatment after a riot which was quashed by a joint force of FEBEM's security personnel, military police and private security guards. Conflicting reports of the numbers injured were received from two different official sources. Witnesses denouncing the beatings and ill-treatment may be subjected to reprisals.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/11/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 106/93 Ill Treatment of Children/Fear of Reprisals 8 April 1993
BRAZIL: At least 40 inmates at the Foundation for
the Welfare of Minors (FEBEM)
Amnesty International is concerned about reports that on 30 March 1993 at least
40 children and adolescents, inmates at the State Foundation for the Welfare
of Minors, Fundação Estadual do Bem - Estar do Menor, FEBEM, Sao Paulo, were
subjected to beatings and other forms of ill-treatment by the guards. Amnesty
International fears that the children and other witnesses who have denounced
the beatings and ill-treatment may be subjected to reprisals.
According to information received by Amnesty International, on the afternoon
of 30 March, there was a riot by a group of young offenders at the Tatuapé
juvenile detention centre of the State Foundation for the Welfare of Minors,
FEBEM, in the Eastern zone, zona leste, of the city of São Paulo. The riot
was quashed by a joint force made up of FEBEM's security personnel, the São
Paulo military police and members of a private security firm under contract
to FEBEM.
In statements to human rights workers who visited the centre three days after
the event, the young inmates reportedly denounced that they had been made to
"run the gauntlet" (pass between two lines of batonwielding guards) and were
beaten with truncheons and sticks by members of the security staff, the military
police and the private security firm. Immediately after the riot was ended,
the State Secretary of the Child, Secretaria da Criança, reported that no
children had been hurt during the events. The following day, however, she
conceded that four children and three members of staff had been slightly wounded
in the incident.
Two days after the riot, members of the Public Prosecution Service for Children
and Adolescents of São Paulo, Promotoria da Infância e da Juventude, who are
conducting an investigation into the incident with a forensic doctor, visited
the detention centre. They established that at least 40 and probably up to
80 young people had been injured in the riot and that six young inmates were
in need of hospital treatment which they had not yet received.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Overcrowding and poor living conditions have resulted in frequent uprisings
in juvenile detention centres in São Paulo. These have usually been followed
by reprisals from the police and members of staff. In November 1992 public
prosecutors requested the demotion of 30 members of staff of the Tatuapé
detention centre accused of beating young inmates when they returned to the
detention centre which had been partially destroyed in a rebellion the previous
month. According to a public prosecutor, a youth of 16 years had his leg broken
and needed six stitches to his mouth. The Chief of Security of Febem, who
commanded the security staff that quelled the March 1993 rebellion in Tatuapé,
is under investigation for allegations of beatings and ill-treatment of inmates
when he was in charge of security at other juvenile detention centre in 1991.
Members of FEBEM's staff who had made these allegations have reportedly received
death threats.
Page 2 of UA 106/93
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters
either in Portuguese, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the reported beatings and other forms of ill-treatment
of young people at the Tatuapé detention centre on 30 April 1993;
- requesting that the allegations be thoroughly and independently investigated
and that those found responsible be brought to justice;
- requesting that steps be taken to ensure the physical safety of young people
and members of staff that denounced beatings and other forms of il-treatment
at FEBEM.
APPEALS TO:
1) State Governor of São Paulo:
Exmo. Sr Governador de
Estado de São Paulo
Sr. Luiz Antônio Fleury
Palácio dos Bandeirantes
Av. Morumbi s/n
05.598 São Paulo -SP
Brasil
Telegrams: Sr. Governador Estado de Sao Paulo
Faxes: +5511 8439271
Salutation: Vossa Excelencia/Your Excellency
2) State Secretary of Public Security:
Exmo Sr. Secretário de Segurança Pública
Estado de São Paulo
Dr. Michel Temer
Av. Higienópolis, No. 758
01/238 São Paulo - SP
Brasil
Telegrams: Sr. Secretário Segurança Pública Estado de Sao Paulo
Faxes: +5511 826 2430
Telexes: +5511 21521
Salutation: Sr. Secretário/Dear Sir
COPIES OF YOUR APPEAL TO:
Pastoral do Menor (São Paulo)
Praça da Sé 184 -10 Andar
CEP 01001 São Paulo, SP
Brazil
and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 May 1993.

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