• Campagnes

UA 123/93 - Brazil: fear for physical safety: Pedro Horacio Caballero, Maria Cecilia Garcez Leme, Ademir Silveira dos Santos, Moises Silva do Nascimento

, N° d'index: AMR 19/015/1993

Ademir Silveira dos Santos and Moises Silva do Nascimento, two street children aged 12, were reportedly beaten up by members of the military police on 13 April 1993 at Praca da Se, Sao Paulo. Pedro Horacio Caballero, a priest and Maria Cecilia Garcez Leme, a nun, witnessed the beatings and have been threatened by the military police. Father Pedro Horacio Caballero reportedly tried to intervene to stop the beating of Moises Silva do Nascimento and was himself ill-treated; Ademir Silveira dos Santos was beaten when he tried to seek the assistance of Sister Maria Cecilia Garcez Leme. Two other street educators who arrived on the scene and witnessed the beatings were also threatened. An inquiry into the incident has been opened by the state and civil police authorities.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/15/93
Distr: UA/SC
Please bring this action to the attention of the person in your section
responsible for outreach work as it is felt that appeals from religous or
children's organizations might be particularly useful.
UA 123/93 Fear for Physical Safety 21 April 1993
BRAZIL: Pedro Horácio CABALLERO, priest
Maria Cecília GARCEZ LEME (female), nun
Ademir SILVEIRA DOS SANTOS, aged 12, street child
Moisés SILVA DO NASCIMENTO, aged 12, street child
Amnesty International is concerned for the physical safety of two street
children, Ademir Silveira dos Santos and Moisés Silva do Nascimento, who were
beaten up by members of the military police on 13 April 1993 at Praça da Sé,
São Paulo, Brazil. The organization is also concerned for the safety of Pedro
Horácio Caballero and Maria Cecília Garcez Gómez who witnessed these beatings
and who have been threatened by the military police.
According to the information received by Amnesty International, in the evening
of 13 April, Father Pedro Horácio Caballero, a street educator, educador de
rua, working with street children in Praça da Sé, a square in downtown São
Paulo, saw two military police officers beating up 12-year-old Moisés Silva
do Nascimento. In an attempt to stop the beating, Father Caballero addressed
the police officers who in response verbally abused him, accusing him of
"protecting delinquents". Father Caballero then sent another street child,
Ademir Silveira dos Santos, also aged 12, to seek the assistance of Sister
Maria Cecília Garcez Leme, another street educator, who was nearby. However
one of the police officers grabbed Ademir Silveira dos Santos, shook him and
pushed him to the ground. Both the police officers then pinned Ademir to the
ground and beat him on his head, legs, arms and back with their truncheons,
laughing and verbally humiliating him.
Father Caballero made a further attempt to stop the boys being beaten, telling
the police officers that their actions were illegal. In response, Father
Caballero was asked to identify himself and when he tried to look for his ID
card they attempted to handcuff him. The police officers failed to restrain
him and began to beat him up, hitting him in the face, back, arms and legs.
Father Caballero then asked the police officers why was he being beaten up,
since he was not armed, and told them that he was going to denounce them and
began to read out loud their identification tags. The police officers then
removed the tags from their uniforms and rubbed them in Father Caballero's
While this was going on, two other street educators arrived in the square.
When the police officers realised that Father Caballero was a priest from the
Church Pastoral of the Child, Pastoral do Menor, they attempted to justify
their actions by alleging that they had needed to act with force because
sometimes when they ask people for their ID firearms are produced instead.
When the street educators reiterated that they nonetheless intended to denounce
them, one of the police officers threatened to detain the street educators
each time they suspected street children of being involved in crimes and to
"clean up" the square from street children.
The street educators and street children have denounced the threats and
ill-treatment to the state civil and military police who have opened inquiries
into the incident.
Page 2 of UA 123/93
Thousands of children live in the streets of São Paulo and other Brazilian
cities. Most of them earn a living by selling sweets and other merchandises
to passers-by but are mistrusted by traders and the public who regard them
as petty criminals. The police frequently beat up and arbitrarily detain the
children to "clean up" certain areas of the cities. Thousands of children are
also killed every year by death squads, often with the participation of off-duty
police officers. According to official figures 390 children were killed between
January and July 1992 in the state of São Paulo alone. Praça da in downtown
São Paulo, where tens of street children live temporarily or permanently, has
frequently been the scene of confrontation between the police and street
children. Street educators from the Church Pastoral of the Child and other
organizations, who help and protect the children, have frequently been subjected
to threats and ill-treatment when confronting the police in defence of the
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/ and airmail letters
either in Portuguese, English and your own language:
- expressing concern at the beating of two 12-year-old boys, Ademir Silveira
dos Santos and Moisés Silva do Nascimento, and of Father Pedro Horácio Caballero
reportedly by members of the military police on 13 April 1993 at Praça da Sé,
São Paulo;
- expressing concern at the reported threats made by the military police against
the street educators who witnessed the above incident;
- requesting that the allegations of beatings and threats be thoroughly
investigated and those found responsible be brought to justice;
- requesting that steps be taken to ensure the physical safety of street children
and street educators in Praça da Sé, and in particular of those who witnessed
the incidents of 13 April 1993.
1) State Governor of São Paulo:
Sr Luiz Antônio Fleury Salutation: Vossa Excelência /
Palácio dos Bandeirantes Your Excellency
Av Morumbi s/n
05.598 Sáo Paulo - SP
Telegrams: Sr. Governador Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo - SP, Brazil
Faxes: + 55 11 8439271
2) State Secretary of Public Security:
Dr Michel Temer Salutation: Sr. Secretario /
Av. Higienópolis No 758 Dear Secretary
01238 Sáo Paulo
Telegrams: Sr. Secretario Seguranca Publica, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Pastoral do Menor
Praça da Sé 184, 10 andar
01001 São Paulo
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 2 June 1993.

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