Amnesty International warns Brazil against human rights violations ahead of Rio Olympics

Amnesty International calls on authorities in Brazil to respect human rights as it prepares to host this summer's Olympic Games, warning that recent major sporting events in the country have seen "violent and abusive" crackdowns by security personnel and limitations on freedom of speech.

Report cites alleged killings, beatings by police ahead of Pan-Am Games and FIFA World Cup

A squatter was detained as he was evicted from an abandoned building that was set to be turned into a luxury hotel for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in April 2015. (Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Amnesty International is urging authorities in Brazil to respect human rights as it prepares to host this summer's Olympic Games, warning that recent major sporting events in the country have seen "violent and abusive" crackdowns by security personnel and limitations on freedom of speech.

A report issued Thursday by the non-governmental organization cites alleged extrajudicial killings and beatings by security personnel ahead of the Pan-Am Games in 2007, and the use of "unnecessary and excessive force" against protesters leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, among other concerns.

"A major sporting event tends to increase human rights violations that already occur in the host city or country," the report says.

"Brazilian authorities … must take all appropriate measures to ensure that human rights violations do not take place as a consequence of hosting the Rio 2016 Olympic Games."

Amnesty International says protests amid the 2014 FIFA World Cup were met with 'unnecessary and excessive force.'

The report comes amid concerns about Rio de Janeiro's readiness to host the Games, which start Aug. 5, in light of issues including the Zika virus outbreak, lack of adequate public transit and sanitation, and fears over security in the notoriously crime-ridden city.

As if to underscore those concerns, Rio police swarmed through the city's slums this week after the alleged gang rape of a 16-year-old girl that involved more than 30 men, video of which was posted online.

Efforts have also been hurt by budget cuts, delayed completion of the Olympic Velodrome, and Brazil's political and economic crisis.

Amnesty says Brazilian authorities must "take all appropriate measures" to prevent abuses by law enforcement personnel, while ensuring that freedom of speech and expression are "fully respected and protected."

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