Research and Action about Reparation Policies for Brazilian State Violence (Yesterday and Today)


In the past years, ISER has developed and supported initiatives related to memory, truth, and justice for the grievous human rights violations perpetrated during the dictatorship of 1964. Identifying the direct connections between an unfinished transitional process and the violence furthered by the state in the democratic period in a systematic manner, the current project seeks to advocate for the creation and strengthening of institutional policies of recognition and response to the grievous human rights violations by way of research activities, mobilization, sensibilization, and advocacy. Our actions are targeted towards producing changes in state recognition of this situation and to strengthen social movements of victims of violence and their family members.


Despite the National Truth Commission’s Final Report pointing towards the necessity of institutional reforms in Brazil in order to end the continuation of the violence perpetrated by the state and the establishment of appropriate policies in response to the grievous human rights violations, our team noted a low level of compliance with the drafted recommendations, and, in some sectors, retrocessions. In 2017, the Interamerican Human Rights Court condemned the Brazilian state for the lack of investigations and reparations for victims and the family members of victims of crimes committed by the civil police in the “chacinas” (killings) in the Alemão Complex of Nova Brasília in 1994 and 1995. Recognizing a context of structural violence practiced by the police, the tribunal censured the fitness of the public power to respond to these violations, particularly those of the justice system. Therefore, the current project seeks to engage in discourse about the possibilities of reparation for institutional violence based on legal parameters and previous experiences in Brazil and other countries.


Three action strategies will be adopted: (i) production of knowledge regarding parameters established by reparation policies; (ii) dissemination of knowledge, mobilization, and sensibilization of  key actors in the process of recognition of grievous human rights violations; and (iii) advocacy and/or interlocution with state institutions, in articulation with organized civil society and social movements, about the responsibility of the state in relation to violence furthered and/or tolerated by its agents, particularly in the context of the field of memory, truth, and justice politics, and in relation to the implementation of the Interamerican Human Rights Court’s sentencing in the Favela Nova Brasília case.

Time Period

September 2017 to January 2019


Ford Foundation


Shana Santos