A Fragile but Evolving Relationship
WOLA is pleased to announce the release of the publication, Civil Society and Citizen Security in Brazil: A Fragile but Evolving Relationship, by WOLA Senior Fellow Elizabeth Leeds. The relationship between civil society groups and public safety officials in Brazil has evolved steadily over the past three decades. Human rights groups and academics are increasingly involved in discussions with members of the police and government officials about how to improve both the effectiveness and accountability of public safety policies. However, despite certain political openings for rights-respecting policies, deep-seated obstacles remain that limit the reforms’ potential for success.
As in many countries in the region, the over-arching trend in public safety policies in Brazil is a pendulum of innovations and retractions where proactive forward-thinking policies are frequently followed by a return to reactive—and frequently repressive—crime-fighting policies. Nevertheless, there are many examples where civil society has successfully advocated for more systemic, lasting reforms at the state and federal levels in Brazil, and these experiences are worth examining. WOLA’s new report details how Brazilian civil society has become engaged in the issue of citizen security since the end of the military regime in 1988 to push for effective, rights-respecting public safety policies throughout the country, and examines the principle obstacles to progress and how they might be overcome.