top of page

New report by FNI examines religious intolerance and racism in Brazil

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

Facts and Norms Institute concluded another written contribution to the United Nations; the document highlights religious racism and religiously motivated violence.

Practitioners of Candomblé. Image: Wikipedia, 2018.

On March 2021, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 46/27, entitled “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief”.

Besides outlining an action plan for combating intolerance based on religion or belief, the Resolution requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a comprehensive follow-up report on the matter.

On 23 July 2021, the Office of the High Commissioner invited relevant stakeholders to submit written contributions by late September 2021.

In response, on 22 September 2021, Facts and Norms Institute (FNI) concluded a new report: “Intolerance, negative stereotyping, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons, based on religion or belief: input regarding Brazil”.

A concerted effort of its recently innaugurated Global Human Rights Observatory, the report draws upon a variety of sources, especially documents from the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

The report’s main objective is to contribute to the work of the High Commissioner by identifying and systematizing relevant information regarding Brazil. Results include instances of intolerance against practitioners of Afro-Brazilian religions; impairment of Quilombola religious rites; reported violations of basic rights in Brazilian “therapeutic communities”; and violence against LGBT persons with macabre religious aspects.

Intolerance against practitioners of Afro-Brazilian religions

While systematizing past analyses from the UN, the Institute found, inter alia, that:

Despite being a demographic majority, Afro-Brazilians experience racial discrimination and face severe disadvantage in comparison with other Brazilians. Members of Afro-Brazilian religions face an increasing number of incidents of violence, intimidation, and discrimination.

Although there are Constitutional and other normative provisions recognizing and protecting the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, Afro-Brazilian religions and belief systems have been historically subject to discrimination and negative stereotyping.

There are reports of religious intolerance against students, attacks on persons and sites associated with religions of African origin, and harmful use of the media by followers of other religions to portray Afro-Brazilian groups as “devil worshipers”.

There are also reports of widespread impunity regarding the acts of discrimination, hostility etc., as well as concerns that Afro-religions are not given equal protection and official recognition.

Quilombola religious rites, "therapeutic" communities and violence against LGBT persons

While systematizing recent documents from the IACHR, the Institute found, inter alia, that:

Comparable to indigenous peoples, Quilombolas are also traditional communities with a special relation to their land. The IACHR reported a possible impairment of Quilombola religious rites in the context of a land dispute regarding the Quilombola Community of Rio dos Macacos. The IACHR also reported violations of freedom of religion in "therapeutic "communities – private entities that operate as temporary collective residences in which patients are housed and often isolated to keep them abstinent. These reported violations included forced internment, arbitrary medication, restrictions on contact with family members, forced labour, physical abuse, the internment of adolescents and the imposition of religious beliefs and practices as part of the “treatment” under threat of corporal punishment.

The IACHR reported, inter alia, two cases of extreme violence against LGBT persons with macabre religious aspects that took place in Brazil. The Commission was informed that attacks against LGBT persons are, at times, religiously motivated.


For more news and updates, please subscribe at the subscription box below.


bottom of page