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A shocking increase of 135 percent in the number of people killed by police officers in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Olympics lays bare the security services’ chilling disregard to the right of life, said Amnesty International today.

According to the Instituto de Segurança Pública (ISP), in the city of Rio de Janeiro alone, 40 people were killed by police officers on duty in the month of May: an increase of 135 percent compared to 17 during the same period in 2015. Across the State as a whole, the numbers rose from 44 to 84, an increase of 90 percent.

"The soaring death count ahead of this major sporting event represents an epic failure on the part of the authorities to protect the most fundamental human right–the right to life,” said Atila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International's national office in Brazil.

“It is completely unacceptable that these numbers are increasing despite all the warnings and complaints of Rio inhabitants of the excessive use of force by police. The authorities must act immediately to rein in the worst excesses of the security forces, stem the cycle of violence, and ensure the right to life is assured.”