Brazil figures among the most violent countries in the world and some of its cities have homicide rates similar to those found in civil wars. In fact, this is a Latin-American tragedy. Violence affects all social layers, races, genders and ages, but the statistics available allow us to affirm that the poorest are the most struck by it.
Youth is also predominant among those who die victims of violence in Brazil. The total average homicide rate for the Brazilian population is 30.3 per 100,000, but that number is 65.5 per 100,000 when it comes to youth.Therefore, young people are at twice the risk of dying from murder than the average population.
Among black people, the risk of being killed is much higher than for white people, and that gap is widening. The homicide rate for the Brazilian population was 30.3 per 100,000 in Brazil, but the number for the black population were 40.2 per 100,000. Among the non-black, rates were lower — 16 per 100,000. That means the rates for the black population were twice as high.
The violence against women in Brazil is on a rise. Violence against women refers not only to violent deaths, but also to domestic violence, rapes, sexual harassment, revenge porn and others. Forms of violence that have been part of many women’s everyday lives have now been named, which helps to bring them into open debate.
According to an article published in the Journal of the University of São Paulo (USP) by Wânia Pasinato (PhD in Sociology and technical consultant to the USP Women project) and Eva Blay (professor emeritus at USP and director of the USP Women project), there must be an investment in the production of information about violence against women in Brazil: “It is not a new subject, but it is never too much to remind people about it. In Brazil, there is a historical gap in the production of data able to illustrate the proportions of violence against women and their characteristics, and to create indicators the enable the evaluation of whether laws are being enforced, as well as how the lack of services and investments affects the responses for violence prevention and women’s protection, and the social and economic costs of violence against women.
The violence in Brazil has reached extreme levels, and it affects particularly the poor. Domestic violence is very frequent and the incidence of feminicide is increasing.
On average, twelve women are killed in Brazil every day. This is the result of an analysis conducted by the Brazilian web portal G1, based on the official state data for 2017.
Violence against indigenous peoples has also grown. According to the Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), in 2016 there were 735 deaths of children under the age of 5, 106 suicide cases and 118 murders of indigenous individuals in Brazil. The government and the politicians in the rural caucus are identified as co-responsible for this rise in violence and pressure on territories occupied by traditional peoples.
Violence against the LGBT community is also on the rise. Murders of LGBT individuals went up by 30 % between 2016 and 2017, according to a report by the Bahia’s Gay Group (GGB).
The execution of Rio de Janeiro’s city councilor and human rights activist Marielle Franco and the driver Anderson Gomes shocked the country and had strong international repercussion. This brutal political crime, yet to be solved, occurred during the military intervention in the state, which she investigated as a councillor.
Violence has risen since the beginning of the military intervention in Rio.The Intervention Observatory, coordinated by the Center of Studies in Security and Citizenship (CESeC) at the Cândido Mendes University, has published a report on the first two months of the military intervention. In February and March, within the ongoing military intervention, there were 940 homicides in the state of Rio de Janeiro; 209 civilians were killed in police activities; 19 police officers were killed; and 27 of the 70 operations analyzed by this report resulted in deaths.
In 2017, 5,012 people were killed in Brazil — 790 more than in 2016. As for the killing of police officers, that figure has dropped: 385 of them were killed last year. The lack of standardization and transparency is an obstacle for the consolidation of data.
There was also an increment in the number of reported cases of religious intolerance in Brazil. The profile of victims shows that adherents of Umbanda and Candomblé, as well as those who identify themselves as followers of other religions of African origin, are the main targets of that intolerance.
The violence in Brazil has many faces, including the institutional violence that deprives people from their rights ensured by the Federal Constitution. The social crisis feeds the violence, which grows in a manner that can be regarded as endemic. It is a serious, chronic problem.
How to tackle it?
The issue of public security will certainly be a central point of discussion in electoral debates. Still, how to fight violence without dealing with the alarming social crisis in which Brazil is?
We, from PAD, hope that those discussions take place and that the electoral debates also approach the need for a plan targeting the social areas, to ensure public investments in health, education, housing, basic sanitation and public transportation for people. Unless the Brazilian social crisis is addressed, there will be no solution for its violence.
A VIOLENT BRAZIL
Brazil is the ninth most violent country in the world.
From the 10 most violent countries in the world, 9 are in Latin America. Brazil ranks nine in homicides. Data released in May 2018 by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that Brazilian rates are five times higher than the world average of homicides.
According to the data collected independently by the UN agency, murders in Brazil reached 31.1 people per 100,000 inhabitants. That rate places Brazil among the most violent places on Earth.
Honduras leads the ranking, with 55.5 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. With the political and economic crisis, violence has also boomed in Venezuela. The country ranks second on the list, with 49.2 homicides per 100,000 citizens. The list also includes El Salvador (46 per 100,000), Colombia (42), Trinidad and Tobago (41), Jamaica (39.1), Lesotho (35) and South Africa (33.1).
Published in March 2018, the Map of Violence studies the evolution of firearm-related deaths in Brazil between 1980 and 2014. Factors such as gender, race/color and age are also considered in the analysis. See the full study:
Brazil concentrates the largest number of cities in the ranking of the 50 most violent urban areas in the world, according to an annual assessment based on homicide rates published in March by the Mexican civil society organization Security, Justice and Peace.
There are 17 Brazilian cities with more than 300,000 inhabitants on the list, which is led by the Mexican city of Los Cabos (111.33 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants), followed by the capital of Venezuela, Caracas (111.19).
Natal (RN) is in fourth place, with 102.56 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants — as a reference, the World Health Organization (WHO) considers rates above 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants to be an indicator of epidemic violence.
Other Brazilian cities in the ranking are Fortaleza (CE), Belém (PA), Vitória da Conquista (BA), Maceió (AL), Aracaju (SE), Feira de Santana (BA), Recife (PE), Salvador (BA), João Pessoa (PB), Manaus (AM), Porto Alegre (RS), Macapá (AP), Campos de Goycatazes (RJ), Campina Grande (PB), Teresina (PI) and Vitória (ES).
Fortaleza received special attention in the report because its rate rose by 85 per cent between 2016 and 2017, from 44.98 to 83.48.
According to data from the Violence Monitor published by the news portal G1, there was an increase in the number of people killed by the police in Brazil; the number of police officers deaths dropped in 2017. The country had 5,012 killings by officers on duty in 2017, a 19 per cent increment in comparison to 2016. The number of officers killed had a reduction: 385 of them were killed last year. The number of victims in clash with the police rose 19 per cent in a year. As for the number of officer killed, it fell 15 per cent. The assessment is part of the Violence Monitor, a partnership of G1 and the Center of Studies on Violence at USP and the Brazilian Forum of Public Security.
The map shows death rates for the military police and civilians in each state. See for more information:
Violence against children
A research that analyzed the perception of society about the violence perpetrated against children and adolescents put Brazil on the top of the ranking as the most violent of 14 countries in Latin America. The study was released in April this year by the social organization Visão Mundial (World Vision), in São Paulo.
Types of violence considered included physical and psychological abuse, child labor, early marriage, online threats and sexual violence. In Brazil, 13 per cent of respondents believe there is a high risk of incidence of those practices against children in the country. Next in the ranking are Mexico, with 11 per cent, and Peru and Bolivia, with 10 per cent. The best perceptions were observed in Honduras and Costa Rica, with 2 per cent.
“The present Brazil faces insufficient funding for the implementation of effective laws and policies to tackle the violence against women”. That is the opinion of the program manager for ONU Women in Brazil, Joana Chagas, who attended the Regional Symposium on Gender Violence in April this year.
Supported by data from the Research on Socioeconomic Conditions and Domestic and Family Violence against Women, Joana pointed that gender inequality tends to worsen for women who suffered a previous episode of aggression.
In 2017, 27 per cent of Brazilian women in the Northeast, aged 15 to 49, had been victims of domestic violence. In the region, 17 per cent of women have already been physically assaulted at least once. From the 10,000 respondents, about 600 were attacked during pregnancy. In that group, 77 per cent of women were black.
Violence in rural areas
A rise in violence and murders of workers in clashes in the country
In June 2018, the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) published the data of its report. In a note the press, CPT reported a surge in the number of homicides in rural areas since 2015.
According to the document, there were at least 70 violent deaths last year, the highest amount since 2003. The Pastoral itself has suffered virtual attacks and they denounce the criminalization of social organizations.
According to the CPT study, since 2015 there has been an escalation in violent deaths of rural workers, indigenous peoples, quilombola peoples, landholders, anglers and settlers. The highest incidence of murders was observed in Pará — 21, 10 of which occurred in the so-called Massacre of Pau d’Arco on May 24 2017, during a repossession suit at a farm. Second and third places belong to Rondônia (17) and Bahia (10).
According to the report, 28 of the 70 murders (40 per cent) occurred in slaughters. Since 1985, there have been 46 massacres with a total of 220 victims. CPT keeps a web page on the matter:
Violence against LGBT individuals
The killing of LGBTs grew 30 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
According to a survey presented by the Gay Group of Bahia (GGB) in January this year, there was a rise of 30 per cent in homicides of LGBT people in comparison with 2017 — from 343 to 445 deaths. The survey informs that every 19 hours one LGBT person is killed or commits suicide because of “LGBTphobia”, which puts Brazil on the top of the ranking for that kind of crime.
The causes of death registered in 2017 continues the same trend of previous years, with predominance of fire arms (30.8 per cent), followed by thrusting and cutting weapons such as knives (25.2 per cent). According to international human rights agencies, Brazil kills more homosexuals than the 13 countries in the West and Africa where there is a death penalty for LGBT people.
Violence against human rights defenders
Brazil had more than one human rights defender killed every five days in the country in 2016 and in the first semester of 2017. The data was presented by the Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders, which published the dossier “A Life of Struggle: criminalization and violence against human rights defenders in Brazil” in June 2017.
The dossier reveals that at least 66 human rights defenders were killed in Brazil in 2016. The North and Northeast regions concentrate most of the cases and conflicts about land are the main cause of death.
The document also points that urban centers present a “escalating, naturalized dynamics of brutal violence, which is diffused in a manner that hampers the comprehension of the attacks against human rights defenders”. The main agents behind those attacks are State agents — the police — and the militia funded by large corporations.
Police violence against protesters escalated in 2016, after the intensification in street demonstrations against the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and, later, against the new government established after the “implementation of a juridical-institutional coup”.
Violence against indigenous peoples
Violence against indigenous peoples has grown to alarming rates. According to data from the Missionary Indigenist Council (Cimi), in 2016 there were 735 deaths of children under the age of 5, 106 suicide cases and 118 murders of indigenous individuals in Brazil.
The government and the politicians in the rural caucus are identified as co-responsible for this rise in violence and pressure on territories occupied by traditional peoples.
According to analyses presented in the CIMI’s report Violence Against Indigenous Peoples in Brazil (data for 2016), there is evidence of an increase in some of the most significant types of violence and rights violations, such as infant mortality, suicide, murder, and omission and slowness in the regularization of traditional lands, compared to data for 2015, the previous year.
Religious intolerance is on the rise in Brazil. Acts of hate include the destruction of temples and attacks against followers of religions of African origin.
According to data from the Human Rights Secretariat, linked to the Ministry of Justice, there has been an annual escalation in the reporting of religious intolerance, and followers of religions of African origin are the main victims of hate crimes.
The Religious Intolerance Dossier, drafted by Koinonia — Ecumenical Presence and Service, introduces the MAP OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE IN BRAZIL (2008 to 2017).
The map compiles cases of religious intolerance in Brazil that were registered in the Religious Intolerance Dossier. See for more information:
Violence in Brazil is a complex behavioral phenomenon of aggressiveness that dates back to the historical bases of the country and affects all layers of society. We can no longer believe in the myth of a pacific Brazil. We are one of the most violent countries in the world and it is imperative that we discuss the violence and the social crisis, in the search for new paths.
Pad — International Articulation and Dialogue
By Kátia Visentainer — Communication