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Rio’s Civil Society Rallies Behind ‘Collective Candidacy’ for Public Defenders Office Ombudsman

87 Favela and Civil Society Organizations Unite to Ensure Right to Public Defense

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This month the State of Rio de Janeiro’s Public Defenders Office is due to select a new General Ombudsman. The position is responsible for “promoting the quality of services delivered to society by the [Public Defenders], by way of dialoguing with society as well as strengthening the institution’s commitment to human rights issues.”

Nearly 90 organizations—a mix of groups from favelas and other allied groups—have declared their support for an innovative “collective candidacy” represented by Alan Brum Pinheiro, a long-time activist from Complexo do Alemão and co-founder of the Instituto Raízes em Movimento (Roots in Movement Institute). The Public Defenders’ Office regularly engages in legal issues related to favelas, notably including struggles against eviction and challenges to police violence and abuses of power. A Facebook post that circulated among his supporters argues: “This decision-making position must be held by a candidate from the segment of the population that uses these services.”

The candidacy’s 16 proposals focus on increasing opportunities for public participation and dialogue in the work of the Public Defenders Office and improving transparency about the institution’s activities, all aiming for the “expansion of vulnerable groups’ access to justice.”

Supporters have emphasized Brum Pinheiro’s qualifications as a “sociologist from a favela and defender of human rights,” emphasizing not only his technical knowledge but moreover his local knowledge derived from “day-to-day experiences” as a favela resident. They also frame the “representativeness and diversity of social actors” who support this candidacy as an essential aspect of the campaign for the Public Defenders Office to take into account. A statement shared by Instituto Raízes em Movimento argues that the collective candidacy is particularly important in this “moment when rights are being dismantled in the current context of national politics.”

Over the course of September, three candidates registered and representatives of 12 organizations voted to rank them, with Alan Brum Pinheiro’s candidacy coming in second place. The Public Defenders Office itself will make the final decision.

The NGO behind RioOnWatch, Catalytic Communities (known locally as Comunidades Catalisadoras—ComCat) has joined 86 other groups in expressing support for Alan Brum Pinheiro and the collective candidacy he represents. Read the full candidacy letter below.

Collective candidacy in support of Alan Brum Pinheiro for the position of General Ombudsman of the Public Defenders Office of the State of Rio de Janeiro:

In the coming days we will have an election for a new General Ombudsman of the State of Rio de Janeiro’s Public Defenders Office. As such, we understand that the time for change has come, and that it is time to propose a candidacy with a focus on fighting for and demanding rights for the state’s peripheral areas and favelas. Access to Public Defender services must be made widely available and must always address the needs of those who most need these services.

Diverse groups, people, and institutions based in the periphery and in favelas, alongside partners in this field of struggle, are collectively building a new candidacy and invite everyone to participate in the process.

Together, we will support the candidacy of Alan Brum Pinheiro for the position of General Ombudsman of the State of Rio de Janeiro’s Public Defenders Office.

To advance a more inclusive proposal, we ask for the support of groups and institutions that support the premise that we must always build from the ground up and never through the perspective of large media and business corporations’ search for solutions. These entities have always served to further deepen inequalities, in addition to exacerbating the oppression of peripheral areas and favelas.

OUR CANDIDACY’S CENTRAL PLATFORM is the confrontation of racism, homophobia, and sexism. This is in addition to expanding vulnerable groups’ access to justice, with particular regard to: black people, women, children and youth, people deprived of their liberty, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples, LGBT people, people living on the street, waste pickers, fishermen, traditional communities, Romani people, and all groups in situations of violence.

We want an Ombudsman who will expand the agency of activist organizations that advocate for the enforcement of rights, and who can offer the Public Defenders Office ways to overcome the historical distance between public institutions and the citizens they are supposed to serve.

We ask organizations and movements that support this candidacy to mobilize across social media, in person, and especially by email to the Public Defenders Office and its staff.

Our candidacy is a collective and always participatory platform.

MOVEMENTS, COLLECTIVES, FORUMS, ORGANIZATIONS AND GROUPS THAT HAVE DECLARED SUPPORT FOR THIS CANDIDACY:

1. Rede de Comunidades e Movimentos Contra a Violência
2. Instituto Raízes em Movimento
3. Comissão de DH – OAB RJ
4. FASE – Rio – Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional
5. IBASE
6. Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais
7. Justiça Global
8. MTST/ Movimento dos Trabalhadores sem Teto/ RJ
9. CMP/Central de Movimentos Populares
10. MPP /Movimento Paz e Proteção
11. Fórum Social de Manguinhos
12. Coletivo Fala Akari
13. Witness Brasil
14. Movimento Candelária
15. Movimento Moleque
16. Fórum de Juventudes RJ
17. União e Fé pelas Crianças e Adolescentes/ UNICEF.
18. Juventude de Terreiros Renafro-RJ
19. UNEAFRO RJ – União de Núcleos de Educação Popular para Negras/os e Classe Trabalhadora
20. CETRAB – Centro de Tradições Afro-brasileiras
21. CIAFRO – Centro de Integração da Cultura Afrobrasileira
22. FONSANPOTMA – Fórum de Segurança Alimentar e Nutricional dos Povos Tradicionais de Matriz Africana
23. Ile Omiojuaro
24. Centro de Tradição Afro Egi Omim
25. Ilê Ase Ala Koro Wo
26. CISIN- Centro de Integração Social Inzo ia Nzambi
27. Coletivo OXE MIMO
28. Ile Axé Iyalode de Oxum Kare Adeomiaro
29. Ile Ashe Oya Iyamum
30. Ilê Axé Oju Oba Kaosi
31. AXÉ pela DEMOCRACIA
32. Canal Oro Orum
33. Rumpaime Hevioso Zoonokum Mean
34. Aliança de Batistas do Brasil
35. Baphos Periféricos
36. LBL – Liga Brasieira de Lésbicas e Mulheres Bissexuais
37. Coletivo Madame Satã
38. ABL-Articulação Brasileira de Lésbicas
39. Grupo Conexão G de Cidadania LGBT de Favelas
40. Agência de Comunicação Comunitária Fala Manguinhos
41. Coletivo Papo Reto
42. Voz da Comunidades
43. Coletivo de Comunicação Comunitária Maré 0800
44. Núcleo Audiovisual Favela – NA Favela
45. Favela em Foco
46. Agência de Notícias das Favelas – ANF
47. Rádio Mutirão
48. Mídia Coletiva/Portal Independente de Notícias
49. App#NósporNós
50. TV Tagarela
51. GatoMÍDIA
52. Comcat – Comunidades Catalisadoras / Rio On Watch
53. Criola
54. Movimento Mães de Manguinhos
55. Movimento Independente Mães de Maio
56. Movimento de Mulheres do Complexo do Alemão – MMA
57. Mães Vítimas da Violência Policial da Baixada Fluminense
58. Associação de Mulheres do Morro do Urubu – AMAMU
59. Associação de Mães e Amigos da Criança – AMAR
60. Movimento D’ELLAs
61. Rede de Mulheres Negras da Baixada
62. Comissão de Moradores da Indiana
63. Ass.Moradores do Laboriaux e Vila Cruzado.
64. Associação de Moradores do Morro do Itararé
65. Casa de Estudos Urbanos
66. Espaço Pra Que e Pra Quem Servem as Pesquisas sobre Favelas?
67. Instituto de Formação Humana e Educação Popular – IFHEB
68. Associação Pamen Central Humana de Educação, Ideias e Formação Alternativa – CHEIFA
69. Curso Histórias Vivas
70. Rolé dos Favelados
71. Educap
72. GAS – Grupo Alemão Solidário
73. Instituto Movimento & Vida
74. Amires/Duque de Caxias – Associação Missão Resplandecer
75. Associação Emergência Social do Complexo do Alemão
76. Maré Vive
77. Verdejar Socioambiental
78. Aliança Pela Serra da Misericórdia
79. CEM – Centro de Educação Multicultural
80. Zona Onírica
81. Favela Art
82. Iasespe/Instituto de Ação Social pelo Esporte e Educação
83. Museu Sankofa
84. Museu da Favela
85. Cineclube Buraco do Getúlio
86. Casa BROTA
87. Descolando Ideias