Bill that would allow socio-educational agents to carry and use firearms in the state of Rio de Janeiro could cause harm

Washington, D.C. April 9th , 2019.- The Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) expresses its alarm over a proposed bill ( nº 1.825 / 2016) that seeks to modify the carrying and use of firearms for agents acting in the socio-educational system of Rio de Janeiro. Tomorrow, April 10th , the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro, will decide to approve it or not.


This law, if approved, puts at risk the guarantees and rights of children and adolescents in Brazil. In a country facing high rates of incarceration, as well as overcrowding within the prisons and in the socio-educational units, added to the high rate of criminal recidivism, this proposal is extremely worrisome. In addition, various international organizations have reported serious violations of human rights in units for the deprivation of liberty for children.


The purpose of this bill is to expand the Disarmament Statute that defines the categories and functions in which the carrying of a weapon is allowed in Brazil. It is important to mention the recent change in the Brazilian legislation, introduced through a presidential decree, which makes the requirements for the possession of firearms more flexible but does not provide any regulation for the carrying of firearms. The carrying of arms is still regulated by the Statute of Disarmament. On the other hand, the Federal Supreme Court repeatedly declared as unconstitutional the state laws that try to make the carrying of arms more flexible and reaffirms that it is a purely Federal competence.


In addition, according to the international parameters established by the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Young People Deprived of Liberty (1990), known as the Havana Rules, "the transportation and use of weapons by officials must be prohibited in any facility where young teenagers are detained. "


From CEJIL we point out that the Brazilian State must reject this and any initiative from the state  of Rio de Janeiro that represents a setback in the guarantees and rights of children and adolescents, especially considering that it is inserted in the discussions that defends the reduction of the criminal age and in a context of increased criminalization of black and poor youth. Finally, the bill is unconstitutional and does not comply with the internal and international parameters previously established in terms of ​​juvenile justice. Given the situation, civil society organizations informed today the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights about the proposed legislation.