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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The first meeting of the CEMAPP (Executive Commission on Monitoring and Assessment of Pacification Policies) was held this week, presided by Rio de Janeiro governor, Luiz Fernando Pezão. The commission’s objective is to improve social projects in communities that have already installed a Pacifying Police Unit (UPP).

Police officers, from an UPP unit, patrol streets of the Mandela Favela in Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Police officers, from an UPP unit, patrol streets of the Mandela Favela in Rio de Janeiro, photo by Tania Rego/Agencia Brasil.

The commission, created at the beginning of the year, will have representatives from several state departments, such as housing, education, health, sports, social services and human rights, as well representatives from the private sector.

“The military police is increasingly meeting demands that have nothing to do with police work itself. We want to invest in these police [units] and optimize social projects in the communities which have this [UPP] presence,” said the governor after the meeting. Pezão added that despite the economic difficulties facing the state, security projects and plans would not be suspended or delayed.

According to Rio de Janeiro’s security secretary, José Mariano Beltrame, it is not possible to pacify communities with only the use of police force. “The main focus of this is to reinforce social projects within the communities. The focus should be children and young people lured by drug trafficking. There is a real need for institutions to enter these communities and help to rescue these youngsters,” he told reporters.

Among those who attended the meeting was the representative of FIRJAN (Rio de Janeiro Industry Federation). “It is important that everyone contributes as he can, to end this situation. This war we cannot lose. I believe that Brazil’s businessmen already understand that there are no prosperous companies in a shattered society,” said FIRJAN president Eduardo Eugenio Gouvêa Vieira.

According to Vieira, FIRJANn has invested nearly R$53 million since 2010 in educational programs and professional training in those areas pacified, assisting more than 1.2 million people in those communities.

The UPP program of Rio de Janeiro was established in 2008 but remains controversial, with many areas patrolled by police still registering high violence rates and accusations of police brutality.

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