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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The government of Brazil has until the end of March to respond to the Organization of American States (OAS) a 52-question query about the country’s prison and socio-educational system.

Brazil,Overcrowded conditions in prisons in Brazil are notorious,
Overcrowded conditions in prisons in Brazil are notorious, photo by Antonio Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

Earlier this year the international organization’s human rights office (IACHR) issued a statement stating it was concerned with the violence that erupted in several prisons around the country.

“The IACHR reiterates that the State, as guarantor of the fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty, has an inescapable legal duty to take concrete steps to guarantee inmates’ rights to life and physical integrity, particularly measures to prevent and control outbreaks of violence in prisons. In this context, the Inter-American Commission urges the Brazilian authorities to adopt appropriate and concrete measures to prevent these types of violence,” said the statement issued by the international entity.

In January several prisons in the Northeastern states of Amazonas, Rondonia and Rio Grande do Norte registered violent riots, leading to the deaths of at least 120 inmates. Due to the growing violence Brazil’s government announced it was authorizing the armed forces to help with the reinforcement of security inside prisons across the country.

The IACHR stated that the entity had warned the government in several occasions last year that inmates’ deaths have taken place in a systematic context of repeated acts of violence in Brazil’s detention centers, and urged the government to take decisive measures to address the ‘grave and profound challenges faced by the prison system in Brazil’.

According to a government news agency the answers are being prepared by Brazilian officials at the Ministry of Justice.

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