The side-event "Human Rights in Brazil: Violations in the Prison System - the case of Espírito Santo" was held in Geneva on March 15th, on the occasion of the 13th session of the UN Human Rights Council, intended to give international visibility to the grave situation facing prisoners in the state of Espírito Santo. Consequently, representatives the Brazilian government were invited and were in attendance in Geneva.
international community is now aware of the human rights violations
taking place in Espírito Santo. The state government representatives
cannot now return home with the same discourse with which they came to
Geneva", declared Bruno Alves de Souza, president of the Espírito Santo
State Human Rights Council, one of the panelists at the meeting. As far
as he is concerned, the lack of any objective response to the reports
presented at the UN is finally recognition of the existence of the human
rights violations, such as torture, in the Espírito Santo state prison
system. "Once there is recognition, the government cannot avoid
combating and immediately ceasing the abusive practices,"added Souza.
What was clear the data presented by the state representatives and the questions asked by the audience is that "he Espírito Santo state government, besides not expanding the capacity of its prison system, has taken no measures to establish accountability for the extremely serious violations taking place in the state over the past decade. In this respect, there has also been clear neglect by the Public Prosecutor?1 Office and the Judiciary in the state of Espírito Santo". This is the assessment of Oscar Vilhena Vieira, legal director of Conectas, who concluded by saying that "the event made it clear that the Brazilian State has not made the necessary effort to put a stop to the violations in Espírito Santo and to hold the perpetrators accountable".
Tamara Melo, a lawyer Justiça Global who was also present in Geneva, said: "It is important to remember that there are countless recommendations issued by the UN in relation to violations in the prison and rehabilitation system in the Brazilian State. But since they have not been complied with, we need to be here today, denouncing the dramatic reality in Espírito Santo." It is worth pointing out, moreover, that Brazil signed the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture in 2007 and has still not implemented the preventative mechanism for torture prevention established in this protocol, something it was pressured to do at the meeting.
Simultaneously and coordinated with this side event at the UN, a demonstration was occurring outside the Espírito Santo State Government Headquarters, attended by 150 representatives local human rights organizations, university lecturers, students and intellectuals, who made their way to the State Justice Department to hold talks with the state authorities.
The meeting was organized by Conectas Human Rights (an NGO with consultative status at the ECOSOC/UN), the Espírito Santo State Human Rights Council, Justiça Global, the Human Rights Support Center, the Serra Municipal Centre for the Defense of Human Rights and Pastoral do Menor in Espírito Santo.
 - The Espírito Santo State Justice Secretary, Ângelo Roncalli, the Director of Prison Policy (DEPEN/Min. of Justice), André Almeida e Cunha, and Judge Erivaldo Ribeiro dos Santos of the National Justice Council were the government representatives sent by Brazil.