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Pacifying Police Forces (UPPs) and Military Peacekeeping: how can one policy contribute the other?

Ludmila Ribeiro
Getulio Vargas Foundation
Ludmila Ribeiro
Getulio Vargas Foundation
Open Panel

Abstract

Created in 2008, the Pacifying Police Forces (Unidades de Polícia Pacificadora, UPPs) were established as part of a new Federal Government programme within the Ministry of Justice called PRONASCI (Programa Nacional de Segurança Pública com Cidadania), a new public security policy that combines law enforcement with actions aiming to tackle the socio-cultural aspects of the illicit drug market. UPPs are military police units that aim to pacify the highest number possible of favelas through community policing. Their objectives are similar to the principles of UN peace keeping missions in which Brazil has participated over the last years: (1) to regain State control of the communities currently under the influence of criminal groups; (2) to bring peace and public security in the favelas (slums); (3) to contribute to break the ‘logic of war’ in Rio. In this paper we discuss the main features of the both UPP policy and peace keeping missions, and the interchanges that they are experiencing today in the Brazil. Thus, we test the hypothesis that principles shared by both experiences are responsible for the interchange observed in the training process and action of military force and military police in some of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. Particular attention is given to the identification of some of the problems faced by UN peacekeeping missions in which Brazil has been participating, which are in turn repeated by the UPP policy. By doing that, we expect to contribute with the further development of the UPP model, as well as to the debate around the extension of peace keeping models in public security policies.