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  • Police patrol a working-class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.

    Police patrol a working-class neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 June 2017

Brazil was responsible for 10 percent of all murders in the world in 2015. Young Black males accounted for an overwhelming majority of those deaths.

In just three weeks in 2015, Brazil had more homicides than all of the deaths in terror attacks recorded worldwide in 2017. The data is part of a report released Monday titled "Violence Atlas."

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According to the report, Brazil was responsible for 10 percent of all murders in the world in 2015. Young Black males accounted for a majority of those deaths. With the number of fatalities surpassing 59,000 that year alone, the homicide rate in the country reached an exorbitant 29 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.

Daniel Cerqueira, a researcher at Brazil's Institute of Applied Economic Research, pointed out that for every 100 victims, 71 are Black.

“Why doesn't Brazilian society become more conscious, why doesn't the Brazilian state become more aware and allocate more resources, like other countries do, to address the terror?” he asked.

In the same breath, he responded, “We live in a very unequal society, one that still harbors a racist history and the people who die are young and Black.” He added that most victims have received poor education and are residents of periphery neighborhoods in “large urban centers.”

Cerqueira concluded that this combination of factors breed deadly results for the Black community. “There's a true license to kill in Brazil as long as, obviously, it doesn't occur in the noble streets of the cities.”

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Meanwhile, Samira Bueno, president of the Public Security Forum, noted that it's possible to change this scenario with proper public planning.

"As much as we're facing a financial crisis, this does not depend only on resources, it involves coordination which can begin today. And if the tragedy of 60,000 people murdered every year in Brazil is not prioritized, it ends up having an economic impact on the development of the country," she said.

Violence Atlas shows that Black female victims face a 22 percent increase in mortality while other races present a 7 percent reduction.

On March 30, Eduarda Maria, a 13-year-old student athlete who attended the Daniel Piza Municipal School in Rio de Janeiro, was fatally shot by police. A video of the police raid also showed the moment two military police shot two men who were already injured and lying on the ground.

The report also demonstrates that some Brazilian states present a significant increase in the deaths of Black people. Alagoas, for example, has a Black homicide rate 11 times higher than any other ethnic group.


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