By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International
When listening to the people of Maré discuss what is soon going to happen in their communities, their fear is palpable. Partly spurred by the upcoming role of Rio de Janerio as host to both the World Cup and the Olympics, the police are undertaking a program of “pacification.”
One of several community leaders I met with today said it best, “Impunity is the mother of all violence.” I was listening to people from Maré speak about their experiences living in Rio de Janerio’s largest favela. They spoke of intertwined communities that have been established in Rio as long as their more famed sisters – Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon.
But their stories were not of beautiful beaches, famed dance clubs or glamorous bars and restaurants. Their stories were of working class Brazilians trying to survive the twin threats of violence at the hands of criminals, and indifference or violence by the police.