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From Abandonment to Inclusion: The Role of the State in Violence, Public Security and Human Rights in favela communities in Rio de Janeiro – The Case Studies of Santa Marta and City of God

Beginning in December of 2008, the State of Rio de Janeiro and federal government of Brazil began a new policy shift in securitizing favela communities. In an effort to combat the city’s drug traffickers and prevalent violence, the State began installing “pacification” or “peacekeeping” units in vulnerable favela communities. Following pacification, the State then increases investment in infrastructure and social programs.

Drawn from the authors’ experience of living in Rio, this award nominated paper looks at the evolving role of the State of Rio de Janeiro in recent years in two specific favela communities: Santa Marta and City of God. As the city prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, preparations mount and the international community awaits to see what Rio is capable of accomplishing in their fight to eliminate the city’s famous drug trade and infamous violence. Will these preparations benefit those most marginalized? Or will it continue to push the socially excluded even further into the periphery?

After multiple failed security policies since the 1980s, recent actions and investments show the State’s new human rights based approach to security and social and economic investment. Fulfilling its national and international obligations of respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of all citizens while also moving forward on a path of progressive economic and social development, the State of Rio de Janeiro is entering a new era. Its new policies are battling a deeper embedded structural violence while enhancing the capabilities of formerly deprived citizens. Santa Marta and City of God serve as case studies in analyzing the State of Rio de Janeiro, its fulfillment of human rights obligations and its progressive path of economic and social development in favela communities.

Author Mary E. Robbins

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From Abandonment to Inclusion: The Role of the State in Violence, Public Security and Human Rights in favela communities in Rio de Janeiro, The Case Studies of Santa Marta and City of God (1297)

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