REPORT Nº 38/02
ADMISSIBILITY
PETITION 12.237
DAMIÃO XIMENES LOPES
BRAZIL
October 9, 2002
I.

SUMMARY

1. On November 22, 1999, Mrs. Irene Ximenes Lopes Miranda submitted to the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”) a petition
against the Federative Republic of Brazil (hereinafter “Brazil,” “the State,” or “the Brazilian
State”). That petition alleged violations of Articles 4, 5, 11, and 25 of the American Convention
on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Convention” or “the American Convention”), on the right to
life, the right to humane treatment, the right to privacy, and the right to judicial protection, all
in connection with the generic duty of the State to respect and ensure the rights enshrined in
the American Convention, as provided for in Article 1(1), to the detriment of Mr. Damião
Ximenes Lopes, her brother, who died while at the Guararapes Rest Home (hereinafter “Casa
de Repouso Guararapes” or “Casa de Repouso”), in Sobral, Ceará, after he was admitted there
to receive psychiatric treatment.
2. The petitioner alleged that the Brazilian State is responsible for the death of her brother,
Damião Ximenes Lopes, at the Casa de Repouso Guararapes, on October 4, 1999. According to
the petitioner, her brother was admitted to said Casa de Repouso to receive psychiatric
treatment as he suffered from a mental illness, and two days after being admitted, his mother
went to visit him and found him with visible signs of torture, his hands tied, nose bleeding,
face and abdomen swollen; he asked her to call the police. Hours later, after receiving
medication, he died.
3. The petitioner alleged that, despite the situation described in the previous paragraph, the
result of the autopsy performed on her brother’s corpse only mentioned the apparent lesions,
and was silent as to the cause of his death, reporting in its conclusion, “in view of what is set
forth above, we infer that it is an actual death of undetermined cause.” According to the
petitioner, the above-noted Casa de Repouso is known for the inhumane treatment meted out
to its patients. To this end, the petitioner cited statements made by former patients and
newspaper clippings.
4. The State failed to respond to the Commission’s request for information.
5. The Commission, in keeping with the provisions of Articles 46 and 47 of the American
Convention, decided to admit the petition, with respect to the possible violations of Articles 4,
5, 11, and 25, all in relation to Article 1(1) of the Convention. The Commission decided to
notify the parties of this decision, to publish it, and to include it in its Annual Report to the OAS
General Assembly.
II.

PROCESSING BEFORE THE COMMISSION

6. On November 22, 1999, the Commission acknowledged receipt of a complaint lodged by
Mrs. Irene Ximenes Lopes Miranda. On December 14, 1999, the IACHR forwarded to the State
the petition that is the subject of this report, and gave it 90 days to respond. On February 14,
2000, the Commission received a petition from the complainant in which she reported that as
of that date, the local authorities had not taken any measure on the case, and reporting that
another patient 1 had been a victim of torture at that same Casa de Repouso. On February 17,
the IACHR acknowledged receipt of the additional information from the petitioner, dated
January 31, 2000, in which she added information and introduced new documents. On that
same date, the Commission forwarded to the Brazilian State the additional information
received, and gave it 60 days to provide the information it considered necessary within 30
days, lest it apply the provision of Article 42 of the Commission’s Regulations, in force at that
1 This was Mr. Adauto, a patient who was cited in the Incident Report of the Casa de Repouso (Boletim de Ocorrência
da Casa de Repouso) as having been the victim of an assault by nurses of that Casa de Repouso. The petitioner did
not introduce any information to identify the victim other than his first name.

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