Jonata Anjo, partially wrapped in a red ribbon, protests outside Carrefour supermarket against the murder of black man Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas at a different Carrefour supermarket the night before, on Brazil’s National Black Awareness Day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, 20 November 2020. Freitas died after being beaten by security guards of a supermarket in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, sparking outrage when a video of the incident circulated on social media.
AP / Bruna Prado Photo
Why Global Citizens Should Care
João Alberto Silveira Freitas kneels and is beaten to death by two private security guards outside the Carrefour supermarket in the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre on November 19, according to the UN.
The United Nations condemned the country’s “structural racism” on Tuesday and called for sweeping changes to address racial inequalities and the ongoing violence that followed. protests that erupted in the city and its surroundings last week.
“This case and the widespread anger that has sparked highlight the urgent need for the Brazilian government to tackle racism and racial discrimination in close coordination with all groups of society, especially those most affected,” the word Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the United Nations Office of Human Rights for the High Commissioner (OHCHR).
“Brazilian blacks endure structural and institutional racism, exclusion, marginalization and violence, with – in many cases – deadly consequences,” he added. “Afro-Brazilians are excluded and almost invisible from decision-making structures and institutions.”
The guards, both white, have been detained and are being investigated for murder, The Guardian reports. Shamdasani called for additional investigations into the use of force against protesters.
Meanwhile, Carrefour supermarket ended its relationship with a security company that employed guards, fired the manager of the shop where the death occurred, and temporarily closed the Porto Alegre site in honor of the victim.
Black people experience disproportionate levels of violence in Brazil. Amnesty International report that black and mixed-race people, who make up 57% of the population, constitute 74% of victims of deadly violence, including 79% of victims of fatal violence at the hands of the police, according to statistics compiled from the Brazilian NGO Forum on Public Security.
Violence is simply the most extreme form of elimination and exclusion faced by black Brazilians, according to the United Nations.
Shamdasani said Brazil’s transatlantic slave trade, which enslaved 15 million people, had an impact that is still felt today, especially because the country has never fully accounted for its effects and failed to undergo a period of reconciliation and reparation.
Why Anti-Racism Should Be The Foundation Of Becoming A Global Citizen
As a result, many Brazilians operate under the illusion that race no longer significantly affects life outcomes, although available data suggest that Afro-Brazilians are systematically excluded from positions of power and economic opportunity, and experiences that include racism. The COVID-19 pandemic, for example Afro-Brazilian people are disproportionately affected.
In many ways, racism in Brazil reflects racism in the United States, a country that also has strictly avoids addressing a history of slavery and racial oppression. After Black Lives Matter protests emerged in the US earlier this year after the murder of George Floyd, protests broke out out in Brazil too.
Racism and police violence are global phenomena with structural roots and protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd and João Alberto Silveira Freitas compel countries to face their dark past.
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“To address this situation, urgent legal, institutional and policy reforms are needed, including affirmative action,” Shamdasani said. “Deeply ingrained racial stereotypes, including between officials in the police and courts, must be tackled.”
He added: “The authorities should also intensify human rights education, to promote a better understanding of the root causes of racism, and make greater efforts to promote respect for diversity and multiculturalism, and cultivate deeper knowledge of Afro culture and history. -Brazil. , as well as their contribution to Brazilian society. “
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