By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Concerned about the number of violent deaths in Rio de Janeiro, many at the hands of police officers, international non-government organization, Amnesty International launched a campaign on Thursday to pressure the state’s government to speak out against police violence.
With the slogan ‘Say No To Execution’ the campaign by the international NGO will also give state officials suggestions including setting up a task force to guarantee the speedy and independent investigation of deaths from police operations and the restriction of high power fire weapons and automatic weapons in police operations within the communities.
“The idea is to direct this pressure to the head of the state government, so that he can position himself clearly on the issue and stop giving these generic answers,” said Rebeca Lerer, coordinator of Amnesty International to news outlet Agencia Brasil.
According to the organization between 2005 and 2014 more than five thousand persons were killed by police officers on call in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The majority of the victims, says Amnesty were young black men living in one of the city’s many poorer communities.
“In the city of Rio de Janeiro, military police has used unnecessary, excessive and arbitrary force. This has led to several human rights violations and a high number of fatal victims,” says the campaign on the NGO’s webpage.
The deaths, according to the NGO, are normally registered as ‘homicides due to police intervention’ and police officers always claim they acted in self-defense.
Earlier this week four military police officers were accused and jailed for the killing of five youths on Sunday morning in a Rio de Janeiro suburb. According to reports the officers fired more than one hundred bullets into the car the youths were in and then tried to alter the crime scene.