Organized crime gangs in Rio de Janeiro's favela slums have terrorized residents and underscored the state's loss of control since 1979. The battle for control between gangs and law enforcement created open urban warfare in Rio for the last three decades.
Neglected since their creation as illegal settlements, favelas have been both site and source of this violent conflict. But now, with the deadlines of the 2014 FIFA World Cup event and the 2016 Summer Olympics looming, Brazil and Rio de Janeiro have an urgent need to finally address this complex problem and get it under control. Initial attempts at intervention have mostly taken aim at directly suppressing the favela drug gangs, but the correlated factors of corruption, social and income inequality require far more attention in order to achieve a sustainable peace.
This conflict assessment, prepared for the governments of Rio de Janeiro State and Brazil, consists of two phases: this report constitutes the first phase, which employs the U.K's Department for International Development's (DfID) Strategic Conflict Assessment (SCA) framework. This desk study analyzes the structures, actors and dynamics of the conflict and identifies responses, concluding with recommendations requiring city and state cooperation. The second phase involves a workshop-oriented in-country assessment influenced by the principles of Participatory Action Research (PAR). Workshops include all relevant stakeholders in order to effectively implement the recommendations of the first phase. The ideas of Mary Anderson's Do No Harm approach guide the creation of this entire assessment, in that we view identified facets behind conflict as also critical factors for peace.
Regina Joseph is a journalist and media pioneer with 20 years of international experience in print, internet, cable television and mobile telephony development. She is currently an expert analyst and strategic development consultant to WikiStrat while also completing a Masters' degree in International Relations at New York University (graduating in 2012). She speaks English, Portuguese, French and Dutch.
This paper was co-authored with Marcella Marucci.