Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were no reports the federal government or its agents committed politically motivated killings, but unlawful killings by state police were reported. In some cases police employed indiscriminate force. The extent of the problem was difficult to determine, since comprehensive, reliable statistics on unlawful police killings were not available. Official statistics showed police killed numerous civilians but did not specify which cases may have been unlawful. For instance, the Rio de Janeiro Public Security Institute, a state government entity, reported that from January to June, police killed 581 civilians in “acts of resistance” (similar to resisting arrest) in Rio de Janeiro State. Most of the deaths occurred while police were conducting operations against narcotics trafficking gangs in the city of Rio de Janeiro’s approximately 760 favelas (poor neighborhoods or shantytowns), where an estimated 1.4 million persons lived. A disproportionate number of the victims were Afro-Brazilians under age 25. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Rio de Janeiro questioned whether all of the victims actually resisted arrest, contending police employed repressive methods.
On March 30, two military police officers were shown on a cell phone video summarily executing two suspects after a clash between police and armed criminals in Acari, a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, despite the alleged criminals being wounded. The two officers–Fabio de Barros Dias and David Gomes Centeio of the 41st Military Police Battalion of Iraja–were released from preventive detention in April because the judge deemed that they had been cooperating with investigators and did not pose a public threat. They were awaiting trial.
According to the Sao Paulo State Secretariat of Public Security, on- and off-duty military and civil police officers were responsible for 459 deaths in the state in the first half of the year, which was the highest number in the last 14 years. The 2016 total was 856 deaths and was the third consecutive year in which police killings increased over the previous year. The state secretariat recorded the deaths as “reactions or opposition to police intervention.” Of the 856 extrajudicial killings, military police were responsible for the vast majority (95.6 percent). According to civil society organizations, the victims of police violence in Sao Paulo State were overwhelmingly black youth.
On May 12, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found Brazil responsible for failing to guarantee justice for the victims of the “Nova Brasilia massacres,” which included the deaths of 26 citizens between October 1994 and May 1995 in raids carried out by Rio de Janeiro’s police forces. The court ordered authorities to reopen an investigation into the killings, publish an annual report containing statistics on the number of deaths as a result of police intervention throughout the country, and develop and implement policies for reducing police killings.
There were no reports of disappearances by or on behalf of government authorities.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution prohibits such treatment and provides severe legal penalties for conviction of its use. On May 23, 900 state-level police officers raided a Sao Paulo neighborhood known as “Cracolandia,” arresting 38 alleged drug traffickers and demolishing several houses associated with trafficking. Human rights groups accused the state government of excessive use of force against residents and called for the government to treat drug addicts as victims instead of criminals.
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Conditions in many prisons were poor and sometimes life threatening, mainly due to overcrowding. Abuse by prison guards, including sexual abuse, continued at many facilities, and poor working conditions and low pay for prison guards encouraged corruption.
Physical Conditions: Endemic overcrowding was a problem. According to the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship, as of November 2016, the prison population was 711,463 prisoners (including house arrests); the official capacity of the prison system was 393,953 prisoners at the beginning of the year. According to Human Rights Watch, women were often held in women’s wings of men’s prisons, and women’s prisons sometimes employed male guards. Female inmates complained of verbal and sexual harassment by male guards as well as lack of access to medical care, particularly prenatal and postnatal care.
Prisoners convicted of petty crimes frequently were held with murderers and other violent criminals. Authorities attempted to hold pretrial detainees separately from convicted prisoners, but lack of space often required placing convicted criminals in pretrial detention facilities. In many prisons, including those in the Federal District, officials attempted to separate violent offenders from other inmates and keep convicted drug traffickers in a wing apart from the rest of the prison population. Multiple sources reported adolescents were jailed with adults in poor and crowded conditions. In many juvenile detention centers, the number of inmates greatly exceeded capacity.
Violence was rampant in several prison facilities in the Northeast. In addition to overcrowding, poor administration of the prison system, the presence of gangs, and corruption contributed to violence within the penitentiary system. On January 1, in the privately run Anisio Jobim Penitentiary complex in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas State, conflict between the Amazonas-based Familia do Norte and Sao Paulo’s Primeiro Comando Capital criminal organizations ended with 56 prisoners killed by decapitation and burning.
Prisons suffered from insufficient staffing and lack of control over the prison population. Some prisons had a ratio of one guard on duty for every 200-300 prisoners, making it impossible to exercise control in the prisons. During a January riot at Alcacuz Prison in the state of Rio Grande do Norte, officials waited until daylight to enter the prison. In the meantime inmates climbed on to the prison’s roof bearing flags alluding to criminal factions and armed with sticks, stones, and knives.
According to data from the Ministry of Health, prisoners were 28 times more likely to contract tuberculosis, compared with the general public. A study of 58 prisons in the Rio de Janeiro penitentiary system conducted by the leading domestic web content company Universo Online found that, from January 2015 to August 2017, 14 times more deaths occurred as the result of treatable illnesses than from killings. During this period 517 prisoners died from treatable illnesses such as tuberculosis, leprosy, and skin infections, compared with 37 prisoner homicides.
During the year the Ministry of Justice’s National Mechanism for Preventing and Combatting Torture published the results of visits made in 2016 to 23 prisons in six states. The report noted the “shocking” growth of the size of the prison population with no resultant increase in the capacity of the prison system, lack of potable water for drinking and bathing, inadequate nutrition, rat and cockroach infestations, damp and dark cells, and beatings of inmates.
Administration: State-level ombudsman offices and the federal Secretariat of Human Rights monitored prison and detention center conditions and investigated credible allegations of inhuman conditions. Prisoners and detainees had access to visitors; however, human rights observers reported some visitors complained of screening procedures that at times included invasive and unsanitary physical exams.
Independent Monitoring: The government permitted monitoring by independent nongovernmental observers, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations, and Organization of American States as well as local organizations, such as Mechanism for Torture Prevention and Global Justice. In July the president of the Supreme Court visited the Curado prison in Pernambuco State as part of a new nationwide initiative to investigate and improve the use of federal funds allocated for prison reform.
Improvements: In June officials reported a drop in the homicide rate at the Pedrinhas complex in the state of Maranhao from 17 deaths in 2014 to three in the first six months of year, attributing this to the implementation of reforms such as incarcerating rival gang leaders in separate facilities.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
The law prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and limits arrests to those caught in the act of committing a crime or called for by order of a judicial authority; however, police at times did not respect this prohibition. The law provides for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his/her arrest or detention in court.
ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
The federal police force, operating under the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship, is a small, primarily investigative entity and plays a minor role in routine law enforcement. Most police forces are under the control of the states. There are two distinct units within the state police forces: the civil police, which performs an investigative role, and the military police, which is charged with maintaining law and order. Despite its name, the military police does not report to the Ministry of Defense. The law mandates that special police courts exercise jurisdiction over state military police except those charged with “willful crimes against life,” primarily homicide. Police often were responsible for investigating charges of torture and excessive force carried out by fellow officers, although independent investigations increased. Delays in the special military police courts allowed many cases to expire due to statutes of limitations.
Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control over security forces, and the government has mechanisms in place to investigate and punish abuse and corruption; however, impunity and a lack of accountability for security forces was a problem. According to the Ombudsman’s Office of the Sao Paulo Military Police, of the approximately 10,000 police abuse complaints under consideration, the investigations of just 2 percent had been concluded.
In Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, so-called militia groups composed of off-duty and former law enforcement officers reportedly often took policing into their own hands. Many militia groups intimidated residents and conducted illegal activities such as extorting protection money and providing pirated utility services.
According to the Rio de Janeiro State Secretariat for Public Security, human rights courses were a mandatory component of training for entry-level military police officers. Officers for the state’s favela pacification program received additional human rights training.
ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
Officials must advise persons of their rights at the time of arrest or before taking them into custody for interrogation. The law prohibits use of force during an arrest unless the suspect attempts to escape or resists arrest. According to human rights observers, some detainees complained of physical abuse while being taken into police custody.
Authorities generally respected the constitutional right to a prompt judicial determination of the legality of detention. Detainees were informed promptly of the charges against them. The law permits provisional detention for up to five days under specified conditions during an investigation, but a judge may extend this period. A judge may also order temporary detention for an additional five days for processing. Preventive detention for an initial period of 15 days is permitted if police suspect a detainee may flee the area. The law does not provide for a maximum period for pretrial detention, which is decided on a case-by-case basis. If detainees are convicted, time in detention before trial is subtracted from their sentences. Defendants arrested in the act of committing a crime must be charged within 30 days of arrest. Other defendants must be charged within 45 days, although this period may be extended. Often the period for charging defendants had to be extended because of court backlogs. Bail was available for most crimes, and defendants facing charges for all but the most serious crimes have the right to a bail hearing. Prison authorities generally allowed detainees prompt access to a lawyer. Indigent detainees have the right to a lawyer provided by the state. Detainees also had prompt access to family members.
Pretrial Detention: As of February prisons held 221,054 persons in preventive detention and awaiting trial, representing one-third of all prison inmates, according to the National Council of Justice. In a press conference with Amazonas state authorities early in the year, former minister of justice Alexandre de Moraes noted that 44 percent of the country’s prison population was in pretrial detention.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the government generally respected judicial independence and impartiality. Local NGOs, however, cited that corruption within the judiciary, especially at the local and state levels, remained a concern.
The constitution provides for the right to a fair and public trial, and an independent judiciary generally enforced this right, although NGOs reported that in some rural regions–especially in cases involving land rights activists–police, prosecutors, and the judiciary were perceived to be more susceptible to external influences, including fear of reprisals. Investigations, prosecutions, and trials in these cases often were delayed.
After an arrest a judge reviews the case, determines whether it should proceed, and assigns the case to a state prosecutor, who decides whether to issue an indictment. Juries hear cases involving capital crimes; judges try those accused of lesser crimes. Defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence and have the right to be present at their trial, to be promptly informed of charges, not to be compelled to testify or confess guilt, to confront and question adverse witnesses, to present their own witnesses and evidence, and to appeal verdicts. Defendants generally had adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense but did not have the right to free assistance of an interpreter.
Although the law requires trials be held within a set time, there were millions of backlogged cases at state, federal, and appellate courts, and cases often took many years to be concluded. To reduce the backlog, state and federal courts frequently dismissed old cases without a hearing. While the law provides for the right to counsel, the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship stated many prisoners could not afford an attorney. The court must furnish a public defender or private attorney at public expense in such cases, but staffing deficits persisted in all states.
POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
There were no reports of political prisoners or detainees.
CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
Citizens may submit lawsuits before the courts for human rights violations. While the justice system provides for an independent civil judiciary, courts were burdened with backlogs and sometimes subject to corruption, political influence, and indirect intimidation. Cases involving violations of an individual’s human rights may be submitted through petitions by individuals or organizations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which in turn may submit the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
f. Arbitrary or Unlawful Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
Although the law and constitution prohibit such actions, NGOs reported police occasionally conducted searches without warrants. Human rights groups, other NGOs, and media reported incidents of excessive police searches in poor neighborhoods. During these operations police stopped and questioned persons and searched cars and residences without warrants.
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
The law provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.
Elections and Political Participation
Recent Elections: In national elections held in 2014, Dilma Rousseff won a second four-year term as president. Observers considered the elections free and fair. In August 2016 congress impeached Rousseff for violating budget laws, and Vice President Michel Temer assumed the presidency as required by the constitution. In October 2016 voters participated in nationwide municipal elections widely considered free and fair.
Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit participation of women and/or members of minorities in the political process, and they did participate.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The law provides criminal penalties for conviction of corruption by officials and stipulates civil penalties for corruption committed by Brazilians or Brazilian entities overseas, but the government did not always implement the law effectively. There were numerous reports of government corruption, and delays in judicial proceedings against persons accused of corruption often resulted in de facto impunity for those responsible. In response to a series of high-profile corruption investigations, millions of citizens participated in anticorruption street protests throughout the country.
Corruption: The investigation of the Petrobras state oil company embezzlement scandal (Operation Carwash, or “Lava Jato”), which began in 2014, continued and led to arrests and convictions of money launderers and major construction contractors, and also to the investigation, indictment, and conviction of politicians across the political class. Information gained through collaboration and plea bargains with suspects launched a widening net of new investigations. In September federal investigators executed more than 100 search warrants and froze 8.75 billion reais ($2.7 billion) in four of the largest state-run pension funds. As of July courts had handed down 116 convictions, including the first-instance conviction of former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who appealed and was free while awaiting a hearing.
Financial Disclosure: Public officials are subject to financial disclosure laws, and officials generally complied with these provisions. Asset declarations are not made public, but federal employees’ salaries and payment information are posted online and can be searched by name.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
A number of domestic and international human rights groups generally operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Federal officials were cooperative and responsive to their views. Federal and state officials in many cases sought the aid and cooperation of domestic and international NGOs in addressing human rights problems.
Government Human Rights Bodies: In February President Temer re-established the Ministry of Human Rights. The ministry assumed leadership over the Secretariat of Women’s Policies, Secretariat of Human Rights, and Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality, which then acting president Temer created in May 2016 as part of the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship. Some local human rights organizations were critical of the new ministry’s work, stating their long-time contacts had been removed, many positions were unfilled, and the role of civil society in policy discussions had been severely reduced.
The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate had human rights committees that operated without interference and participated in several activities nationwide in coordination with domestic and international human rights organizations. Most states had police ombudsmen, but their accomplishments varied, depending on such factors as funding and outside political pressure.
A National Council for Human Rights, composed of 22 members–11 from various government agencies and 11 from civil society–met regularly. Other councils using this mixed government and civil society model included the National LGBT Council, National Council for Religious Freedom, National Council for Racial Equality Policies, National Council for Rights of Children and Adolescents, and National Council for Refugees.
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape of men or women, including spousal rape. The Maria da Penha Law criminalizes physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women, as well as defamation and damage to property or finances by someone with whom the victim has a marriage, family, or intimate relationship. Persons convicted of killing a woman or girl in cases of domestic violence may be sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison.
The federal government maintained a toll-free nationwide hotline for women to report instances of intimate partner violence. Hotline operators have the authority to mobilize military police units to respond to such reports and follow up regarding the status of the case. In 2016 the hotline received 1,133,345 calls reporting domestic violence, a 51 percent increase over 2015.
Each state secretariat for public security operated police stations dedicated exclusively to addressing crimes against women. State and local governments also operated reference centers and temporary women’s shelters.
The law requires health facilities to contact police regarding cases in which a woman was harmed physically, sexually, or psychologically and to collect evidence and statements should the victim decide to prosecute.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a criminal offense, punishable by up to two years in prison. NGOs reported that sexual harassment was a serious concern.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: .
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. According to the recruitment agency Catho, women received 70 percent of the amount men received for equal work in 2016.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from birth in the country or from a parent. The National Council of Justice, in partnership with the Secretariat of Human Rights (SDH), acted to reduce the number of children without birth certificates by registering children born in maternity wards.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18 (16 with parental or legal representative consent). According to 2016 data from UNICEF, 11 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 15, and 36 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Sexual exploitation of children, adolescents, and other vulnerable persons is punishable by four to 10 years in prison. The law defines sexual exploitation as child sex trafficking, sexual activity, production of child pornography, and public or private sex shows. The law sets a minimum age of 14 for consensual sex, with the penalty for conviction of statutory rape ranging from eight to 15 years in prison.
While no specific laws address child sex tourism, it is punishable under other criminal offenses. The country was a destination for child sex tourism.
The law criminalizes child pornography. The penalty for conviction of possession of child pornography is up to four years in prison and a fine.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to the Jewish Federation, there were approximately 120,000 Jewish citizens, of whom approximately 50,000 were in the state of Sao Paulo and 25,000 in Rio de Janeiro State.
Several leaders of the Jewish and interfaith communities stated overt anti-Semitism was limited. Neo-Nazi groups operated in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana.
In June vandals spray-painted a swastika inside a Star of David on the entrance wall of the Brazilian Israelite Club in Rio de Janeiro. Police opened an investigation into the incident.
In July, Congressman Darcisio Perondi criticized the introduction of charges against President Temer for passive corruption as “an apology for Nazism and Fascism.” Perondi later issued an apology for his comments.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, and the federal government generally enforced these provisions. While federal and state laws mandate access to buildings for persons with disabilities, states did not enforce them effectively.
The Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Act, a legal framework on the rights of persons with disabilities, seeks to promote greater accessibility through expanded federal oversight of the City Statute (a law intended to foster the safety and well-being of urban citizens, among other objectives), harsher criminal penalties for conviction of discrimination based on disability, and inclusive health services with provision of services near residences and rural areas.
The National Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Council for the Rights of the Elderly have primary responsibility for promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. The lack of accessible infrastructure and schools significantly limited the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in the workforce.
Civil society organizations acknowledged that monitoring and enforcement of disability policies remained weak and criticized a lack of accessibility to public transportation, weak application of employment quotas, and a limited medical-based definition of disability that often excludes learning disabilities. The government improved access for persons with disabilities in its infrastructure development and in retrofitting public sports venues to hold sporting events such as the 2016 Paralympic Games.
The law prohibits racial discrimination, specifically the denial of public or private facilities, employment, or housing, to anyone based on race. The law also prohibits the incitement of racial discrimination or prejudice and the dissemination of racially offensive symbols and epithets, and it stipulates prison terms for such acts.
Approximately 52 percent of the population identified themselves as belonging to categories other than white. Despite this high representation within the general population, darker-skinned citizens, particularly Afro-Brazilians, frequently encountered discrimination.
Afro-Brazilians were underrepresented in the government, professional positions, and middle and upper classes. They experienced a higher rate of unemployment and earned average wages below those of whites in similar positions. There was also a sizeable education gap. Afro-Brazilians were disproportionately affected by crime.
The 2010 Racial Equality Statute continued to be controversial, due to its provision for nonquota affirmative action policies in education and employment. In 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of racial quota systems at universities. The 2010 law requires 20 percent of federal public administration positions be filled by Afro-Brazilians.
In 2016 the Ministry of Planning established a requirement for government ministries to set up internal committees to validate the self-declared ethnicity claims of public-service job applicants by using phenotypic criteria, essentially assessing “blackness” in an attempt to reduce abuse of affirmative action policy and related laws. Universities also set up race evaluation committees.
According to data from the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) and the 2010 census, there were approximately 896,900 indigenous persons, representing 305 distinct indigenous ethnic groups and speaking 274 distinct languages. The law grants the indigenous population broad protection of their cultural patrimony, exclusive use of their traditional lands, and exclusive beneficial use of their territory. Congress must consult with the tribes involved when considering requests to exploit mineral and water resources, including ones with energy potential, on indigenous lands. (According to the constitution, all aboveground and underground minerals as well as hydroelectric-power potential belong to the government.) Human rights groups expressed concerns that most of the requirements for indigenous consultation were not met.
Illegal logging, drug trafficking, and mining, as well as changes in the environment caused by large infrastructure projects, forced indigenous tribes to move to new areas or make their demarcated indigenous territories smaller than established by law.
According to FUNAI, the federal government established rules for providing financial compensation following the occupation in good faith of indigenous areas, as in the cases of companies that won development contracts affecting indigenous lands. Various indigenous groups protested the slow pace of land demarcations.
In Maranhao State on April 30, ranchers attacked and injured at least 13 members of the Gamela indigenous group who were occupying land they claimed was stolen from them during the 2013 Terra Legal program. In September reports appeared that a group of illegal miners bragged about killing a group of indigenous persons from an uncontacted tribe in August when they accidentally encountered the group near the border with Colombia and Peru. Federal prosecutors opened an investigation, the second such investigation into a reported killing of uncontacted indigenous persons during the year.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but several states and municipalities have administrative regulations that prohibit such discrimination and provide for equal access to government services. The criminal code states offenses subject to criminal prosecution fall under federal statutes, leaving hate crimes subject to administrative, not criminal penalties. Sao Paulo was the only state to codify punishments for hate-motivated violence and speech against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the law penalizes commercial establishments that discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. In Brasilia the law penalizes both individuals and businesses for discrimination against LGBTI persons. In both Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, sanctions vary from warnings and fines to the temporary suspension or termination of a business license.
In September a federal court judge, Waldemar Claudio de Carvalho, ruled that homosexuality could be considered a disease. His ruling authorized psychologists to treat homosexuality with sexual orientation conversion therapies.
Social discrimination, especially against the transgender population, remained a problem. Violence against LGBTI individuals was a serious concern. According to the local NGO Gay Group of Bahia, 117 LGBTI persons were killed in the first trimester of the year. In February in Fortaleza, Ceara State, a transgender woman, Dandara dos Santos, was taken from her home, beaten, and then shot in the face before being bludgeoned to death. Authorities arrested five individuals; as of October their trial was pending.
The National LGBT Council, composed of representatives from civil society and government agencies, combatted discrimination and promoted the rights of LGBT persons. Meetings were open to the public and broadcast over the internet. During LGBT Pride Day on June 27, the Ministry of Human Rights launched a civic education campaign that used print, television, and radio messages to highlight the importance of respect for LGBT persons.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine. Civil society organizations and the press reported discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
According to the Catholic NGOs Pastoral Land Commission and Global Witness, rural violence, death threats, and killings of environmentalists continued to take place. On May 24, local police in Pau D’Arco, in the northern state of Para, while carrying out an eviction order, shot and killed 10 rural workers who were members of the League of Poor Campesinos, a group of landless activists and families seeking agrarian reform in the area. Media reported the police claimed they shot in self-defense. Authorities arrested 13 military and civil police officers allegedly involved in the case while an investigation was underway. In August a substitute judge released the 13 police officers.
The Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders and Amnesty International reported 58 killings of human rights defenders between January and August. The Pastoral Land Commission reported a total of 61 killings of human rights defenders in land conflicts in all of 2016 and 1,079 violent conflicts related to land disputes in 2016, the most since the NGO began tracking data in 1985.