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Brazil: Huge spike in number of police killings in Rio ahead of Olympics

A huge increase in the number of people killed by police officers in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Olympics lays bare the security services’ chilling disregard for the right of life, said Amnesty International today.

According to new figures from Brazil’s Public Security Institute, in the city of Rio alone 40 people were killed by on-duty police officers in May: an increase of 135% on the same period last year, when 17 were people killed by police. Across Rio state as a whole, police killings almost doubled, from 44 to 84.

Atila Roque, Director of Amnesty International Brazil, said:

"The soaring death count ahead of this major sporting event represents an epic failure on the part of the authorities to protect the most fundamental human right – the right to life.

“It is completely unacceptable that these numbers are increasing despite all the warnings and complaints by Rio inhabitants about the excessive use of force by police.

“The authorities must act immediately to rein in the worst excesses of the security forces, stem the cycle of violence, and ensure the right to life is assured.”

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