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Brazil Plans Reducing Criminal Prosecution Age From 18 To 16

Amnesty International on Monday expressed concern over Brazilian Government's plans to lower the age at which children in the country can be prosecuted as adults, saying that it will dramatically undermine children's rights and could result in teenagers being sent to notoriously dangerous adult prisons where they could face horrendous violence, abuse and grooming.

Brazil's congress is currently considering reducing the age a person could be prosecuted as an adult from 18 to 16 years old. If passed, the legislation would mean some children would be tried as adults, face the same criminal penalties and could be sent to adult prison.


"The rate at which black youths are being murdered in this country is a national scandal, and should be urgently addressed. But instead of being protected, these children are vilified and painted as criminals, increasing the situation of vulnerability they face in one of the most oppressive prison systems in the world," said Atila Roque, Director Executive of Amnesty International Brazil.

Brazil's prison system is one of the most violent in the world. The country has the fourth highest prison population, surpassed only by the USA, China and Russia, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS).

Lowering the legal age of criminal responsibility and excluding children aged 16 to 18 from the juvenile justice system would also breach Brazil's international obligations, according to Amnesty.

Amnesty International called on the Brazilian authorities to scrap plans to lower the age of criminal responsibility and instead increase their efforts to better protect children, especially by addressing the sky-high murder-victim rates among young people, particularly young black men.

Amnesty International Brazil has launched an email campaign to call on Congress to stop this legislation. The organization welcomes the position of the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff who has come out against the proposed change.

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