Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 December 2017, 12:58 GMT

Education under Attack 2010 - Brazil

Publisher UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
Publication Date 10 February 2010
Cite as UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Education under Attack 2010 - Brazil, 10 February 2010, available at: [accessed 13 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

From May to July 2007, eight municipal schools and day-care centres in and near the Complexo do Alemao, Rio de Janeiro, were occupied unannounced by armed police, it was reported. These facilities were used as a base for a military-style assault on armed drug gangs, making them a target for attack while students were still attending classes. The operation involved 1,300 military and civilian police officers, plus soldiers from the National Force. The school buildings suffered extensive damage from intense exchanges of gunfire, leaving children screaming with fear; in one case, grenades exploded on the school patio.360

Armed drug gangs also used schools for shelter. In October 2007, the National Rapporteur on the Right to Education on a visit to CIEP Theophilo de Souza Pinto, a school with 1,058 students, encountered adolescents with machine guns sitting on the school's pavement and by the gate. The roof was shot through with bullet holes from recent fighting between criminal gangs.361

In June 2008, schools set up in Rio Grande do Sul State by the Landless Rural Workers' Movement (MST), which campaigns for land rights in Amazonia, were closed down by force by the police. On 16 June 2008, one school was destroyed after the Public Ministry lodged a complaint on 11 March 2008 against eight suspected members of MST for "constituting a group aiming at changing the rule of law and the established order in Brazil, and which committed crimes of political non-conformity".362

[Refworld note: The source report "Education under Attack 2010" was posted on the UNESCO website ( in pdf format, with country chapters run together. Original footnote numbers have been retained here.]

360 Denise Sarreira and Suelaine Carneiro, Violation to the Education Rights of the Community in the Complexo do Alemao, Rio de Janeiro (Sao Paolo: Office of the National Rapporteur on the Human Right to Education, 2008).

361 Ibid.

362 FIDH, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2009 – Brazil (FIDH, 2009),

Search Refworld