Human Rights Defenders Institute – DDH

Peace without voice means fear: The criminalization of poverty in communities with the implementation of the UPPs

Rio de Janeiro

DDH provides legal counseling in numerous emblematic cases of human rights violations such as the massacres in Baixada Fluminense and in the Complexo do Alemão. The institute seeks to have a permanent work through debates, workshops and seminars, with special focus on public security policy underway in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

The institute is present whenever public manifestations in defense of human rights take place. It also issues public motions and notes to the press about the main events in this field.

The Project

With the project supported by Brazil Fund, the group aims to provide legal assistance to residents of slums and peripheral communities in which Pacification Police Units (UPPs) have been or are being implemented in Rio de Janeiro.

The plan is to act in cases of fundamental human rights violations that have been repeatedly perpetrated in these areas, such as arbitrary detention for disobedience, home invasion, personal injury, discrimination on the grounds of race, gender and sexual orientation and criminalization of culture and popular leaders.


Between 2008 and 2009 the UPPs were presented by the Rio Government as the great innovation that would revolutionize public security policies in Rio de Janeiro, solving the problem of violence in Rio’s slums.

The mortality rate has indeed been reduced after the implementation of the UPPs. However, these have not been accompanied by public policies of citizenship. They are restricted to permanent occupation by the military police in communities, which are understood by the Government as an enemy and violent territory, constantly monitored so that there can be “peace.” This “peace” does not necessarily exist for the residents of the occupied communities, who are still being forced to live with rifles at the doors of their homes (whether belonging to trafficking retailers or to police officers) and treated as eternal suspects, criminalized as a dangerous group, subjected to humiliation and arbitrary actions.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals



Total Granted




Main Themes

Guaranteeing the rule of law and criminal justice

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