Brazil Society

Brazil Society and Human Rights

Population and society

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world both by territorial extension, with a total area of ​​8,459,420 km 2, and in demographic terms, with a population of approximately 202 million residents. It covers half of the South American territory and represents more than a third of the population of Latin America, which amounts to 604 million residents.

However, a demographic slowdown is underway (the increase between 2005 and 2010 was 0.9% against a regional average of 1.15%), mainly linked to the rapid decline in the fertility rate that has been witnessed since 1960., responsible for the general aging of the population and the transition underway. The demographic structure currently turns in favor of the labor market (individuals over 60 currently make up only 10% of the population, making Brazil one of the youngest countries in the G20) and will begin to change around 2025, when the the workforce will shrink and the elderly will make up a growing portion of the population. Thanks to a well-paid pension system, among other things, many elderly people have emerged from poverty. At the same time, however, funding for the improvement of education was limited, impoverishing human capital and penalizing the economic system. The deficit is reflected above all in services, especially hospital services: to remedy the lack of qualified personnel, Rousseff has favored the immigration of doctors from abroad. For Brazil society, please check

Brazil is the country with the highest number of Catholics in the world but, in recent years, there has been a progressive decrease in the faithful linked to the Church of Rome and a growth in Protestant groups, especially evangelicals, which increased by 15% in a decade. to 22% of the population.

Brazil is traditionally a net receptor of migrants (who arrive mainly in the south-eastern areas of the country) and this characteristic has strongly influenced the ethnic composition of the Brazilian population. The main group is made up of the Lusobrasilians, descendants of the Portuguese colonists. There are also significant groups of Italian, Spanish, German and Russian origin. The slave trade, in force until the end of the nineteenth century, has left a large population of African origin, mainly concentrated in the state of Bahia and equal to about 7% of the population. There are other ethnic minorities: the most numerous are those of Lebanese and Japanese origin. The most recent immigrants, on the other hand, come mainly from Argentina, Chile and the Andean countries. Many are Brazilian citizens who emigrated during the recession of the 1980s. Life expectancy, which between 2000 and 2005 was 67.3 years for men and 74.9 years for women, is expected to increase to 74 and 81 years respectively in the five-year period 2030-35.

Freedom and rights

In harmony with the convulsive social and political environment that reigned in Latin America, in 1964 a coup d’état put an end to the so-called People’s Republic in Brazil and brought Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco to power. Thus began more than twenty years of dictatorial governments. Unlike some South American neighbors, such as Argentina and Chile – infamous for the brutality of the regimes – the Brazilian dictatorship has allowed the maintenance of the facade of some democratic institutions, such as the parliament. However, the torture of political opponents was a reality, as was the suppression of individual freedoms and political rights: political opponents could neither vote nor stand for election. Towards the end of the seventies, with Ernesto Geisel at the head of the military government, a transition process began which led, in 1985, to the presidency of José Sarney. After more than twenty years since the transition began, with a major constitutional reform in 1988 and considerable economic and institutional reforms starting in the second half of the 1990s, Brazilian democratic institutions appear to have consolidated. Among the limitations of this process, however, the high rate of political corruption stands out (according to Transparency International’s 2014 Perceived Corruption Index, Brazil ranks 69th out of 175 countries, with a score of 43 points), which affects on the management of public services and on access to justice. In addition, the state-owned oil company Petrobras was hit by a major scandal between 2014 and 2015: in fact, the existence emerged, for about ten years, of a system of procurement and orders rigged with the complicity of politicians. The controversy ended up touching even Dilma Rousseff herself, who at the time held the role of president of Petrobras. For this alleged role, the presidenta risked being put under the impeachment procedure, although it should be remembered that no accusation of being involved in these episodes of corruption has ever been formulated officially.

The infiltration of criminal groups into the security forces also weighs heavily. A very important theme, linked to poverty and social exclusion, concerns violence and crime. Over the past 30 years there has been a 375% increase in the number of violent deaths, especially among young people between the ages of 15 and 29. According to a report by the interior ministry, one million murders were counted in 2010 alone. Drug trafficking also plays a significant role at the local level. In Rio de Janeiro, out of six million residents, two live in favelas, controlled largely by organized drug traffickers and paramilitary groups. In 2008, the Brazilian government launched a vast operation to regain control: it used elite troops , called Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (B ope), and the peacemaking police units. The effort has been intensified recently, in light of international sporting events. Equally serious is the situation in the rural areas of the country. There is still violence against laborers by private companies and illegal militias. Indigenous peoples, who fight for the right to land, are also victims of major rights violations, aggravated by the slowness and inefficiency of the judicial system.

Brazil Society

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