Press Release

IACHR Condemns Killings in Fortaleza, Brazil

November 19, 2015

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) condemns the recent killing of 11 people, also in the city of Fortaleza, in the state of Ceará. The IACHR urges the State of Brazil to continue its investigations into both cases, clarify what happened, and identify, prosecute, and punish those responsible, as well as adopt measures to ensure that acts of this nature do not happen again.  

According to publicly available information, 11 people were killed on November 11-12 in Fortaleza, including seven between the ages of 16 and 19. Men wearing hoods over their faces reportedly went into different homes and took people away, and shot others in the streets. According to official sources, investigations are being carried out to determine what happened and identify those responsible, and three avenues of investigation are being pursued. One of these has to do with the possible responsibility of members of State security forces, in alleged reprisal for the killing of a police officer days earlier. None of the individuals who died reportedly had a criminal record.

These incidents are taking place in a context of citizen insecurity. This year, there have been five similar incidents in the state of Ceará, with a total of 30 victims. The IACHR urges the State of Brazil to continue the investigations in progress in a way that is timely, objective, and impartial, and to pursue all logical leads, including the theory that the perpetrators could have been State law enforcement officers. The investigation should clarify the motives for these serious acts of violence; identify, prosecute, and punish the perpetrators and masterminds; and meet the expectations for justice of the victims and their family members. The State should also adopt any legal, institutional, and administrative measures that may be necessary to ensure that these types of acts are not repeated. The IACHR welcomes authorities’ statements to the effect that every necessary effort is being made to clear up what happened.     

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 135/15