Federative Republic of Brazil
[Country Profile Page]
|Land Area||8 459 420km21|
|Location||South America, The Americas|
|Life Expectancy||74.75yrs (2017)3|
|GNI||$14 145 (2017)4|
|ISO3166-1 Codes||BR, BRA, 765|
Brazil does relatively well in ensuring human rights and freedom, compared to many other countries. Brazil comes in the top 20 in LGBT equality9 despite the illiberal reign of self-proclaimed homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro10, fighting anti-semitic opinions11 and in its nominal commitment to Human Rights12. It does better than average in eliminating modern slavery13, the year from which women could participate in democracy14, according to commentary from Human Rights Watch15 and in fighting corruption16. Brazil does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms17, its Global Peace Index rating18, opposing gender inequality19 and in supporting press freedom20. Some things are getting worse. Women are already poorly protected and abortion is far too heavily restricted and many women and girls must seek out illegal and unregulated abortion clinics - of the estimated 416,000 abortions in 2015, fewer than 1,700 were legal. In 2016 a congressional committee moved to prohibit abortion under any circumstances21. The police are involved in far too many unlawful killings and the mistreatment of detainees also seems to be increasing21.
#antisemitism #Brazil #burundi #christianity #corruption #democracy #eritrea #france #freedom #germany #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #mass_media #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #peace #philippines #politics #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #slavery #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam
|Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)11|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews22,23,24,25. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.
The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East26, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews27,28. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"29. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males30.
|Pos.||Higher is better|
|80||Bosnia & Herzegovina||40.0|
Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain31. There are many forms of corruption. Politicians can sometimes (1) steal money (theft or embezzlement), (2) accept bribes (such as backhanders for awarding government contracts to companies), (3) give bribes (i.e., for electoral support or support in the mass media), (4) improperly coerce others (extortion), (5) give positions of power to friends and family without fairly seeking other applicants for those jobs (cronyism), or (6) grant favours to friends and family (nepotism) such as buying services from them at inflated prices (graft). The least corrupt countries between 2012-2016 were Denmark, New Zealand and Finland16 and the worst were Somalia, N. Korea and Afghanistan16.
|Global Peace Index (2012)18|
|Pos.||Lower is better18|
"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society"18. The most peaceable countries in the world are Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark18 and the worst are Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan18.
|Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)15|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.
|Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)12|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.
|Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)17|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
|79||Trinidad & Tobago||79|
The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...
“... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]
The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]
Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.”
|Press Freedom (2013)20|
|Pos.||Lower is better20|
The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".
It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".
|Pos.||Lower is better|
The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory33. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends34. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life35. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves36.
The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery37. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity38. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.
'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.39. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi13, Eritrea13, Indonesia40) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery41.
“ In 2016, the Ministry of Labor identified 885 cases of workers subjected to abusive conditions that under Brazilian law rise to the level of "slave-like," such as forced labor or degrading working conditions [and] from December 2014 to December 2016, it imposed penalties on 250 companies for employing people in "slave-like" conditions.”
“Chronic problems plague Brazil's criminal justice system, including unlawful police killings and mistreatment of detainees. In Rio de Janeiro, killings by police are approaching record levels. In January 2017, more than 120 inmates were killed in gang-related violence. ... Police officers, including off-duty officers, killed 4,224 people in 2016, about 26 percent more than in 2015, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Security. ... Human Rights Watch has documented scores of cases in the past decade where there was credible evidence of an extrajudicial execution or a cover-up that were not properly investigated or prosecuted. ... Domestic violence remained widespread; thousands of cases each year are not properly investigated. [...]
In January, more than 650,000 adults were behind bars in Brazil, according to the National Council of Justice. The latest official data about overcrowding, from 2014, showed facilities housing 67 percent more inmates than they were designed to hold. Overcrowding and understaffing make it impossible for prison authorities to maintain control within many prisons, leaving detainees vulnerable to violence. Health[, education] and legal services are deficient in many prisons.”
On a positive note, Brazil has formally helped thousands of Venezuelans as they flee from repression and has been calling "for the re-establishment of democracy in Venezuela", and in May 2016 passed a new migration law allowing non-citizens to access public services (including education and health) and the right to join union.21. Along with 11 others, Brazil signed the Lima Declaration in 2017, condemning "the assault on democratic order and the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela"42.
When it comes to Freedom of Speech, a legal provision against "disrespecting" public officials has been continually abused, with soldiers using it against protesting civilians, and military police using it to quash criticism, including in online comments. The same restrictions are used against the police themselves if they complain, criticize current procedures or seek reform.21
|Gender Inequality (2015)19|
|Pos.||Lower is better19|
The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.
|Year Women Can Vote14|
|Pos.||Lower is better|
Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.
Abortion is far too heavily restricted and many women and girls must seek out illegal and unregulated abortion clinics - and then legal fines if they are found out. Of the estimated 416,00 abortions in Brazil in 2015, only 1667 were legal. In 2016 November, things looked to get worse, as "a congressional committee approved a bill that would prohibit abortion under any circumstances"21.
“Implementation of Brazil's anti-domestic violence legislation, the 2006 "Mariada Penha" law, is lagging. Specialized women's police stations have insufficient staff, are mostly closed during evenings and on weekends, and remain concentrated in major cities. Thousands of cases each year are never properly investigated, according to available data.”
Brazil has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.
|LGBT Equality (2017)9|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence43. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws44. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries43. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.
|Social & Moral|
|Pos.||Higher is better|
The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.