A Public Civil Action is a procedural and legal tool, postulated by our Constitution, that deals with diffuse and collective rights. The purpose of the action is to protest for rights of people in the same situation.

What is a Public Civil Action?
A Public Civil Action is a procedural and legal tool, postulated by our Constitution, that deals with diffuse and collective rights. The purpose of the action is to protest for rights of people in the same situation.
Why is it important?
It was Brazil's first collective lawsuit in the public security field that obliges the police to submit to a series of measures to reduce harm and risk during its operations in favelas. Over the years, we saw constant violations of fundamental rights that took place during these operations in Maré. The violations of rights affect the persons - trespassing, physical and psychological violence, injury and death by firearms - and the community - disrespect of the right to come and go, to access public education and health equipment. In this sense, the Public Civil Action seeks to ensure respect for existing laws as well as for the lives of all people living in Maré.
What is it for?
It ensures that the rights and injuries caused to the people who live in favelas reach the Judiciary and that the resolutions apply to all.


The Public Civil Action of Maré

In 2018, while the records of violence in Rio de Janeiro increased, those of Maré decreased. The possible cause for these numbers is the permanent mobilization of the population of Maré for the right to public security and the recognition of a Public Civil Action as an instrument of social control over public security policy. With this action, we are trying to build mechanisms to guarantee collective and individual rights for Maré’s residents, contributing to the reduction of police brutality in poor territories. It is mandatory that we have a security policy that include planning, intelligence, transparency in actions and constant dialogue with civil society, guaranteeing rights and preserving the lives of all citizens, regardless of where they reside.


The Public Civil Action of Maré was achieved, in 2017, through the work of the Right to Public Security and Access to Justice Axis of Redes da Maré in conjunction with the Public Defender's Office, the Public Prosecution Office, residents and representatives of institutions and NGOs. With the achievement, came a series of measures to reduce risks and damage during recurrent armed clashes, including police operations, which take place in the region. This is the first Public Civil Action aimed at Public Security in a slum in Brazil. Thus, we seek to ensure that the police forces act to preserve life and guarantee the rights of those who live in Maré.


present moment

The Public Civil Action of Maré is still preliminary, that is, provisional.


recent events – from june to august 2019 

Had been established for two years, The Public Civil Action of Maré gradually pointed to a decrease in the rates of lethal violence in the region, as shown in the editions of The Right to Public Security Bulletin, which has been tracking data of police operations since 2016.

In 2019, police operations intensified and, with that, the direct violations of Maré residents’ rights. Between June 10 and 12, 2019, police spent three days inside the favela, culminating in the death of 34-year-old Sheila Machado de Oliveira, shot in the chest as she left for work. She left three children. Less than a month later, on July 19, the Public Civil Action was suspended.





Shortly after, the State Public Defender's Office filed an appeal for its reinstatement and, at the same time, Redes da Maré began a series of mobilizations in order to reverse this decision. One of the proposed actions was for residents, especially children and youth, to write letters to the judges expressing how they feel in the middle of crossfire and asking for the re-establishment of the Public Civil Action.


THAT MOVEMENT, BETWEEN JULY AND AUGUST 2019, generated IN JUST ONE MONTH 1,509 LETTERS, WITH DRAWINGS, notes and REQUESTS OF people THAT REPRESENTS MOST of the 140,000 residents of the 16 favelas of Maré - and also, of many other in the state of Rio de Janeiro that are routinely distressed by armed conflict.


On August 12, the same day that the Public Defender's Office formally requested the reinstatement of the Public Civil Action of Maré, a group of Maré’s residents went to the State Court to deliver the letters to the president of the house, but they weren’t received. But the "Letters of Maré" had huge repercussions in the national and international media and were finally able to sensitize Judge Jessé Torres, who decided on August 14 to resume the PCA, which is still under provisional regime.




In addition to the “Letters of Maré”, a campaign called “Dweller is not a target” is running and the special edition of the Bulletin Right to Public Security in Maré was launched with alarming data from the first half of 2019. The “Letters of Maré” continue to receive contributions and reverberate other voices.




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