Friday, July 4, 2014

Documenting the Violence in Brazil

This year the FIFA World Cup was watched by millions around the world.  The World Cup took place in Brazil and ever since the country was chosen there have been numerous reports of police brutality, forced evictions, and other human rights violations.  This police brutality in Brazil has been a fact of life for decades but only recently widely known because of handheld cameras being used to easily to film the police in action.  Recently, a human rights group called WITNESS, has begun a campaign to help out those who are at risk for abuse from the police.  This plan was expressed in an article I read on their website.  Their plan is to train people in Brazil to document the violence using film, photographs, and other media.  I personally am quite happy about this plan, because for one it is a peaceful solution to a violent problem.  Secondly it can be used as a model for other countries who have a similar problem.  

               The other thing in the article I really liked is that the campaign will teach people actually living in Brazil to deal with the problem.  So even after the group from WITNESS leaves there will still be a group of people inside Brazil who can document the violence.  This is just one example of how technology can be used to prevent human rights abuses and hold those who threaten human rights accountable.  Another thing that was brought to my attention in this article was the fact that while police brutality is a fact of life in many countries it took a major sports event to bring this horrible fact to the attention of the general public.  It makes me wonder what other sorts of human rights violations take place and are hidden because people do want to acknowledge that the world we live in is not perfect.  This also leads me the question why Brazil was chosen to host the world cup.  FIFA had to have known about the human rights abuses, yet for some reason they chose Brazil.  The obvious answer is that FIFA was paid large sums of money by the Brazilian government or some other group that had an interest in seeing the World Cup in Brazil.  

WITNESS main website:

WITNESS article:

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