Public note on the shooting that killed children in the Favela Complex do Morro do Alemão, in Rio de Janeiro

Redes da Maré is mourning the death of 8 years old AGATHA at Complexo do Alemão

Public note on the shooting that killed children in the Favela Complex do Morro do Alemão, in Rio de Janeiro

The seed of evil shall be burned

Once again, the population of Rio de Janeiro is in shock and terrified by the death of yet another one of the many children and young people who had their lives disrupted as a result of military police actions. The newest victim was Agatha Felix, a girl of only 8 years old, resident of Fazendinha, one of the slums part of Morro do Alemão. She was shot in the back by a firearm which, according to witnesses, had been fired by law enforcement officials.

We need to understand that this death is a direct consequence of the Public Security measures adopted by the current Government of the State of Rio de Janeiro, which is adopting policies that condemns those who live in slums and outskirts of the city to live with constant fear of being shot at any moment. Sixteen children were shot and killed this year alone - and the Governor’s response to this death toll is “he regrets the situation, but reassures that he will continue to act using the same violent strategies to face organised crime”, in a clear disregard for people living in the favelas and how this affect them.

We find ourselves in a situation that is beyond rationality, and that despair us. We are experiencing on daily basis news that leave us without hope. The incomprehension grows and we don’t know where to focus our actions. How can we act when the use of violent strategy is the option chosen by the State Government to deal with crime, allowing police to shoot to kill in the poorest areas of the city? What does people living in the richest areas of Rio know about favelas? Do they understand that these areas are places where basic rights have been historically denied, where residents have absolutely no guarantee they will receive the same treatment as other citizens living in other parts of the city?

How many more children must die before the current security policies are reviewed? Favela residents are tired of burying their loved ones. Like Agatha’s family, many other families are torn apart and don’t know how to go back to their lives in this city that condemns them to daily suffering and pain.

Last week alone (16th to 20th September) five people were murdered in the same slum complex (Morro do Alemão), where Agatha Felix was shot and killed. These deaths did not reach the same visibility as Agatha’s, and that says a lot about how Rio's community somehow support with passivity and consent the tyrannical management we have in the current State Government. This reality is very serious and scary.

We must all strongly condemn the death of one of our children! We cannot accept the State's claim that the accumulating deaths are only a "side effect" of the alleged “war on crime”. This is disrespectful to families and the population of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.

We cannot accept and cannot be silent in the face of yet another tragedy caused by the irresponsibility of State authorities. We must stop killing our children and teenagers! We must guarantee the future and the right to life to our next generations!

It is urgent that society mobilizes itself in defense of life and that this means condemnation of the current State Security Policy. Redes da Maré is in solidarity with Agatha’s family and all families who have lost their loved ones. We stand for life and the guarantee of rights for favela residents.

How many children will have to die to recognize the barbarious times we are living in?

"Sleep, my little one / not worth waking up.We follow here, for you, for those who are with us, for those who will come. The sun will shine once more. The light will come to the hearts. From evil shall the seed be burned. Love will be eternal again”.


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