The Network against Violence
Authors: Rede de Comunidades e Movimentos contra a Violência.
Translated by: Jessica Alves Thiebaut
Review: Maria Bernadete Morosini
1)The Network of Communities and Movements against Violence (better known as Network Against Violence) is a social movement that began its operation in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 2004, having as a basis the active participation of family members of State violence victims in the favelas.
2)The Network against Violence began operating after the Massacre of Borel in April 2003, with the aim of reporting against institutional violence, welcoming and supporting families of those who had been executed by the military police, the civil police or by the army; supporting also the families of those deprived of their freedom or victims of enforced disappearance. 3)Since the first articulations the Network group has been developing and updating strategies to denounce Human Rights violations, demand justice, reclaim access to the city, and also, with public opinion in general, decriminalize and legitimate the efforts of residents of favelas against the State violence that affects them. 4)In its initial formation, the residents of the following favelas were participating in the Network Against Violence: Acari, Borel, Caju, Jacarezinho, Manguinhos, Maré, Rocinha, Pedreira, Providência and Vigário Geral; in addition to members of social movements such as Frente de Luta Popular, Centro de Cultura Proletária, Central de Movimentos Populares and the Hip-Hop Lutarmada Collective. 5)In the early years of operation the Network organized its political actions with three committees: the Victims and Families Support Committee, the Legal Committee and the Communication Committee. The Victims and Families Support Committee and the Legal Committee were composed by relatives of the victims of police brutality, and their activities were generally developed concomitantly after a police raid or operation, when any resident of the favela contacted a representative of these two committees. 6)The vast majority of these cases involved (as still do) one or more fatal victims and required legal advice. The Legal Committee members answered for this demand; recommending the procedures to be followed and offering to assist the victim's relatives along this process. This follow-up was then carried out by the two committees: while one in charge of the legal handling of cases, the other was dedicated to giving support to family members, making visits, and offering some kind of psychological assistance, when possible. 7)The Communication Committee was composed of both families of the victims and activists from other urban social movements that integrated the Network, as well as university students who over time were considered supporters of the movement. 8)This committee was responsible for writing materials such as flyers, public notes and reports of allegations of human rights violation with focus on summary execution cases, besides feeding the social movement's website which had been designed with the help of independent social communicators. 9)With the increase in demands and the difficulties inherent to the vast majority of social movements, the committees had to go through a process of reconfiguration. The Network Against Violence began to focus its attention on follow-up cases related to summary execution and enforced disappearance, assisting the families of victims of these cases, handling the complaints, and in the process of police investigation and legal proceedings. 10)The public report of the cases, also carried out through debates, movie exhibitions, organized marches and public demonstrations was unsteady for a while. However it was always known as one of the central priorities of the Network operations. 11)As of 2015, the Network Against Violence gathered resources to enable the psychological care of victm's families and since then the movement has been able to rely on the support of mental health professionals. 12)The Network took part in major activities such as: Launch of the documentary “Entre Muros e Favelas” at the 2005 World Social Forum; Campaign against Caveirão in Rio de Janeiro, in 2006; São Paulo’s Popular Tribunal, in 2008; March against Black People Genocide, in 2014; ENPOP - Open Meeting on Public Security and Human Rights in Rio de Janeiro, in 2013; and Three editions of the National Network of Mothers and Families of Victims of State Terrorism Meeting (the last one taking place this year, in Salvador).