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Amnesty International Criticizes Terms To Substitute ‘Autos de Resistência’

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For the original in Portuguese published by EBC Agência Brasil click here.

On January 5 Amnesty International criticized the new nomenclature established by the Federal and Civil Police to substitute terms such as “autos de resistência” [the term for deaths caused when suspects resist arrest] and “resistência seguida de morte” [resistance followed by death] in police records of cases involving bodily injury or death provoked by police in Brazil [including a large number of framed cases].

The previous day, a joint resolution by the Superior Police Council, a department of the Federal Police, and the National Council of Civil Police Chiefs, which was published in the Official Journal of the Union, abolished those two terms and established that, as of now, all cases of this type will be designated as “bodily injury due to opposition to police intervention” or “homicide due to opposition to police action.”

For Amnesty International, the new nomenclature does not combat unjustified police violence, as it maintains the same oppositional logic as the terms previously used and still refers to the victim as resistant.

“Amnesty International hopes that any proposed new nomenclature is neutral, that it doesn’t present any type of prejudgment regarding the victim’s behavior,” said Amnesty International’s Human Rights Advisor, Renata Neder, in a video released on the organization’s website. “Every homicide due to police intervention should be investigated as a homicide. Only through a complete, independent and impartial investigation is it possible to determine the context of that death.”

Amnesty International recalls that the use of terms “autos de resistência” and “resistência seguida de morte” had already been abolished in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Such action, however, did not result in a decrease of homicides resulting from police actions in these states. A survey by the NGO Global Justice, which is available on ondeapoliciamata.org, recorded 410 deaths in Rio as a result of police action between January and July of 2015—an 18.6% increase over the same period of the previous year.

Watch Amnesty International’s Renata Neder’s response to the joint resolution on new nomenclature (in Portuguese):