Brazil pours billions into anti-crime sweep

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday launched a massive three-billion-dollar initiative to tackle high levels of violence in a country that records more than 40,000 homicides per year.

Brazil pours billions into anti-crime sweep
The Citizens' National Security Program is a five-year plan that primarily targets juvenile delinquents and aims to use expanded social and preventive policies in order to divert them from lives of crime.

The plan establishes a 500-strong national security force to deploy in cases of extreme violence, and also boosts police salaries, invests in the corrections system and cracks down on police brutality and organized crime.

Lula declared during a news conference that he planned to "confront and conquer the geography of violence and crime which threatens to divide the country."

He said violence had created "an apartheid of fear and oppression" in Brazil's crime-ridden slums and shantytowns.

Brazil has one of the world's highest murder rates. According to recent figures there were 43,847 homicides in 2005, or a rate of 23.8 murders per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the justice ministry.

"We have 420,000 people in Brazilian prisons, 65 percent of whom are between 14 and 24 years old and 70 percent of whom are recidivists," said Ronald Teixeira, the secretary general of the new initiative.

The civic group Social Watch in 2004 compared the situation in Brazil's major cities to that in countries in the midst of war.

Rio de Janeiro's local leadership has asked for federal aid to fight violence in shanty towns controlled by drug traffickers and militias.

AFP
Last Mod: 21 Ağustos 2007, 12:12
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