Human Rights Violations in Brazil: The Case of Vavá

Human Rights Violations in Brazil: The Case of Vavá

Vavá is one of the many victims of gross human rights violations in Brazil.

The young José Vandeilson Silvina de Sousa, known as Vavá, disappeared on November 9, 2020. Vavá was 17 years old and lived in Morro dos Anjicos, a village located 4km from Alto Alegre, Brazil.

Vavá is a young man with the mental disorder Schizophrenia. After running out of his prescription drugs he disappeared after a behavior mental health crisis.

Governmental negligence.

Sadly, this case highlights the lack of responsibility shown by the federal government in Brazil, which in October, 2020 cut funds that maintained regular delivery of controlled medicines throughout the country.

There remains a strong prejudice against people with mental disorders in Brazil. The disease is still widely associated with something demonic or drug use.

Luckily, Vavá’s family had private help from a psychiatric doctor named Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez de Paiva Filho. Dr. Afonso would bring medicines directly from São Luís to all his patients. Shortly before Vavá’s disappearance Dr. Afonso passed away, and without either public or private resources Vavá ended up on his own at the time of his behavior mental health crisis.

Vavá lived with his grandfather, Mr. Deusdete Matias, who continued asking for help and support for his grandson. He asked the Brazilian Child Protective Service for assistance, but they informed him that Vavá would have to wait up to two years to be placed in a treatment facility.

Several weeks later, however, Child Protective Service did pay three unannounced visits to Vavá and his grandfather. On all three visits Vavá was calm, even asleep during one.

Strangely, on the third visit, the Child Protective Service members advised Mr. Matias, who is illiterate, to leave the house and stay with someone else. Vavá was now completely alone.

The mystery of Vavá’s disappearance.

Vavá mysteriously disappeared on the same day that an unknown person had reportedly been in the village seeking Vava’s grandfather with some papers for him to sign.

Child Protective Service had supposedly found a facility to place the boy, but Vava’s grandfather never met the mysterious person, nor did he sign any documents.

There remain numerous questions and no answers in this case. How could Vavá vanish without a trace while leaving a plate of food he had just prepared for himself on a chair?

Several of the villages’ 26 residents have reported that “they stopped a car at the door, put Vavá inside and left towards Alto Alegre.”








Human Rights Coalition for Latin America, Mental Health and Social Justice

Human Rights Coalition for Latin America, Mental Health and Social Justice

Researcher, Gender Rights Advocate Human Rights activist. Behavior Mental Health worker. I am a natural leader with a thirst for knowledge and exploration of new ideas and challenges. I enjoy empowering others and building strong communities. As a female part of a minority group, I want to use the opportunities I have gained to give back to others. I am passionate about many aspects of human services including but not limited to mental health, gender-based violence prevention, and immigration services.
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