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Brazil partners aim to shine light on violence and inequality during Olympic Games

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The Olympic Games take place in Rio de Janeiro in the middle of the most serious political crisis in Brazil over the past 20 years, with the final decision on President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment taking place between 25 and 29 August.

While the eyes of the world are on the city, the country's inequality is further heightened by these setbacks in democracy.

There is evidence of increased violence against marginalized groups and social movements.

A recent study commissioned by Christian Aid entitled 'Violence and Inequality' revealed that being young, female and of African descent makes a person more likely to be a victim of violence.

SOF is a partner of Christian Aid in Brazil. SOF’s Coordinator, Nalu Faria says:

'An aspect of the Olympic Games is gender inequality and violence through the promotion of prostitution as part of the ‘tourist attraction’. This hides the root causes of sexual exploitation'.

Violence perpetrated by police is an important aspect of structural inequality and Human Rights Watch state that police in the state of Rio de Janeiro have killed more than 8,000 people in the past decade, including at least 645 people in 2015. Three quarters of those killed by police were black men.

Violence is used to control specific groups and communities, it also perpetuates inequalities.

After the terrorist attacks in Nice, Brazilian local authorities increased the security measures for the Olympic Games.

However the anti-terror policy is also being used to persecute and criminalize social movements and the poorest people in the city.


Faith in action 

Representatives from over 25 denominations and more than 30 civil society organisations gathered for a public vigil in downtown Rio de Janeiro to raise a voice against the inequality and to speak out for human rights before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Executive Director of ACT Alliance member Koinonia and co-ordinator of the vigil, Rafael Soares de Oliveira, said:

'We are here in support of migrants, refugees, indigenous people and representative of minorities who suffer all forms of discrimination and racism. The urgent need for justice ties in with the Olympic values that are being hailed so loudly at this time in Rio.'

Referencing the famous statue overlooking the city, the Archbishop of the Episcopal Anglican Church declared:

'I urge all our brothers and sisters around the world to pray that peace, respect and the sporting sprit of such special event may prevail. That the Christ the Redeemer, symbol of this city, isn't embarrassed!'

Related content

Blog: Impeachment of the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff

Blog: Zika education workshops held by Christian Aid partners in Brazil

Our work in Brazil

About the author

Platform2: Debi Millar

Sarah Roure is Christian Aid's Programme Officer in Brazil.

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