The United Nations is concerned about a cocaine raid in Brazil that killed at least 25 people in Rio de Janeiro.

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The UN Human Rights Office demanded an investigation into a Brazilian police operation that resulted in the deaths of at least 25 people, including a police officer, on Friday.

The raid took place on Thursday, when police officers opened fire in the Jacarezinho district of Rio de Janeiro, a low-income neighbourhood.

Multiple injuries were reported, in addition to the 25 dead. Police started the operation after receiving reports that drug traffickers were recruiting children.

Human Rights Office spokesman Rupert Colville said that it was Rio’s deadliest police operation in more than a decade.

“[It] furthers a long-standing trend of unnecessary and disproportionate use of force by police in Brazil’s poor, marginalized and predominantly Afro-Brazilian neighborhoods, known as favelas,” Colville said in a statement.

The United Nations office demanded an enquiry and a general review of police activities in the region.

Colville was “disturbed” that the operation took place amid a Brazilian Supreme Court decision last year restricting police activity in the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“We remind the Brazilian authorities that the use of force should be applied only when strictly necessary,” he said. “Lethal force should be used as a last resort and only in cases where there is an imminent threat to life or of serious injury.”



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