Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape of men or women, including spousal rape. The Maria da Penha Law criminalizes physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women, as well as defamation and damage to property or finances by someone with whom the victim has a marriage, family, or intimate relationship. Persons convicted of killing a woman or girl in cases of domestic violence may be sentenced to 12 to 30 years in prison.
The federal government maintained a toll-free nationwide hotline for women to report instances of intimate partner violence. Hotline operators have the authority to mobilize military police units to respond to such reports and follow up regarding the status of the case. In 2016 the hotline received 1,133,345 calls reporting domestic violence, a 51 percent increase over 2015.
Each state secretariat for public security operated police stations dedicated exclusively to addressing crimes against women. State and local governments also operated reference centers and temporary women’s shelters.
The law requires health facilities to contact police regarding cases in which a woman was harmed physically, sexually, or psychologically and to collect evidence and statements should the victim decide to prosecute.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a criminal offense, punishable by up to two years in prison. NGOs reported that sexual harassment was a serious concern.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion, involuntary sterilization, or other coercive population control methods. Estimates on maternal mortality and contraceptive prevalence are available at: www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/monitoring/maternal-mortality-2015/en/ .
Discrimination: The law provides for the same legal status and rights for women as for men. According to the recruitment agency Catho, women received 70 percent of the amount men received for equal work in 2016.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is derived from birth in the country or from a parent. The National Council of Justice, in partnership with the Secretariat of Human Rights (SDH), acted to reduce the number of children without birth certificates by registering children born in maternity wards.
Child Abuse: Abuse and neglect of children and adolescents were problems. For additional information on this topic see www.unicef.org/protection/ .
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age of marriage is 18 (16 with parental or legal representative consent). According to 2016 data from UNICEF, 11 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 15, and 36 percent of women ages 20-24 were married before age 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: Sexual exploitation of children, adolescents, and other vulnerable persons is punishable by four to 10 years in prison. The law defines sexual exploitation as child sex trafficking, sexual activity, production of child pornography, and public or private sex shows. The law sets a minimum age of 14 for consensual sex, with the penalty for conviction of statutory rape ranging from eight to 15 years in prison.
While no specific laws address child sex tourism, it is punishable under other criminal offenses. The country was a destination for child sex tourism.
The law criminalizes child pornography. The penalty for conviction of possession of child pornography is up to four years in prison and a fine.
International Child Abductions: The country is a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
According to the Jewish Federation, there were approximately 120,000 Jewish citizens, of whom approximately 50,000 were in the state of Sao Paulo and 25,000 in Rio de Janeiro State.
Several leaders of the Jewish and interfaith communities stated overt anti-Semitism was limited. Neo-Nazi groups operated in the southern states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and Parana.
In June vandals spray-painted a swastika inside a Star of David on the entrance wall of the Brazilian Israelite Club in Rio de Janeiro. Police opened an investigation into the incident.
In July, Congressman Darcisio Perondi criticized the introduction of charges against President Temer for passive corruption as “an apology for Nazism and Fascism.” Perondi later issued an apology for his comments.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, and the federal government generally enforced these provisions. While federal and state laws mandate access to buildings for persons with disabilities, states did not enforce them effectively.
The Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Act, a legal framework on the rights of persons with disabilities, seeks to promote greater accessibility through expanded federal oversight of the City Statute (a law intended to foster the safety and well-being of urban citizens, among other objectives), harsher criminal penalties for conviction of discrimination based on disability, and inclusive health services with provision of services near residences and rural areas.
The National Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the National Council for the Rights of the Elderly have primary responsibility for promoting the rights of persons with disabilities. The lack of accessible infrastructure and schools significantly limited the ability of persons with disabilities to participate in the workforce.
Civil society organizations acknowledged that monitoring and enforcement of disability policies remained weak and criticized a lack of accessibility to public transportation, weak application of employment quotas, and a limited medical-based definition of disability that often excludes learning disabilities. The government improved access for persons with disabilities in its infrastructure development and in retrofitting public sports venues to hold sporting events such as the 2016 Paralympic Games.
The law prohibits racial discrimination, specifically the denial of public or private facilities, employment, or housing, to anyone based on race. The law also prohibits the incitement of racial discrimination or prejudice and the dissemination of racially offensive symbols and epithets, and it stipulates prison terms for such acts.
Approximately 52 percent of the population identified themselves as belonging to categories other than white. Despite this high representation within the general population, darker-skinned citizens, particularly Afro-Brazilians, frequently encountered discrimination.
Afro-Brazilians were underrepresented in the government, professional positions, and middle and upper classes. They experienced a higher rate of unemployment and earned average wages below those of whites in similar positions. There was also a sizeable education gap. Afro-Brazilians were disproportionately affected by crime.
The 2010 Racial Equality Statute continued to be controversial, due to its provision for nonquota affirmative action policies in education and employment. In 2012 the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of racial quota systems at universities. The 2010 law requires 20 percent of federal public administration positions be filled by Afro-Brazilians.
In 2016 the Ministry of Planning established a requirement for government ministries to set up internal committees to validate the self-declared ethnicity claims of public-service job applicants by using phenotypic criteria, essentially assessing “blackness” in an attempt to reduce abuse of affirmative action policy and related laws. Universities also set up race evaluation committees.
According to data from the National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI) and the 2010 census, there were approximately 896,900 indigenous persons, representing 305 distinct indigenous ethnic groups and speaking 274 distinct languages. The law grants the indigenous population broad protection of their cultural patrimony, exclusive use of their traditional lands, and exclusive beneficial use of their territory. Congress must consult with the tribes involved when considering requests to exploit mineral and water resources, including ones with energy potential, on indigenous lands. (According to the constitution, all aboveground and underground minerals as well as hydroelectric-power potential belong to the government.) Human rights groups expressed concerns that most of the requirements for indigenous consultation were not met.
Illegal logging, drug trafficking, and mining, as well as changes in the environment caused by large infrastructure projects, forced indigenous tribes to move to new areas or make their demarcated indigenous territories smaller than established by law.
According to FUNAI, the federal government established rules for providing financial compensation following the occupation in good faith of indigenous areas, as in the cases of companies that won development contracts affecting indigenous lands. Various indigenous groups protested the slow pace of land demarcations.
In Maranhao State on April 30, ranchers attacked and injured at least 13 members of the Gamela indigenous group who were occupying land they claimed was stolen from them during the 2013 Terra Legal program. In September reports appeared that a group of illegal miners bragged about killing a group of indigenous persons from an uncontacted tribe in August when they accidentally encountered the group near the border with Colombia and Peru. Federal prosecutors opened an investigation, the second such investigation into a reported killing of uncontacted indigenous persons during the year.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, but several states and municipalities have administrative regulations that prohibit such discrimination and provide for equal access to government services. The criminal code states offenses subject to criminal prosecution fall under federal statutes, leaving hate crimes subject to administrative, not criminal penalties. Sao Paulo was the only state to codify punishments for hate-motivated violence and speech against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, the law penalizes commercial establishments that discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation. In Brasilia the law penalizes both individuals and businesses for discrimination against LGBTI persons. In both Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, sanctions vary from warnings and fines to the temporary suspension or termination of a business license.
In September a federal court judge, Waldemar Claudio de Carvalho, ruled that homosexuality could be considered a disease. His ruling authorized psychologists to treat homosexuality with sexual orientation conversion therapies.
Social discrimination, especially against the transgender population, remained a problem. Violence against LGBTI individuals was a serious concern. According to the local NGO Gay Group of Bahia, 117 LGBTI persons were killed in the first trimester of the year. In February in Fortaleza, Ceara State, a transgender woman, Dandara dos Santos, was taken from her home, beaten, and then shot in the face before being bludgeoned to death. Authorities arrested five individuals; as of October their trial was pending.
The National LGBT Council, composed of representatives from civil society and government agencies, combatted discrimination and promoted the rights of LGBT persons. Meetings were open to the public and broadcast over the internet. During LGBT Pride Day on June 27, the Ministry of Human Rights launched a civic education campaign that used print, television, and radio messages to highlight the importance of respect for LGBT persons.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS is punishable by up to four years in prison and a fine. Civil society organizations and the press reported discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
According to the Catholic NGOs Pastoral Land Commission and Global Witness, rural violence, death threats, and killings of environmentalists continued to take place. On May 24, local police in Pau D’Arco, in the northern state of Para, while carrying out an eviction order, shot and killed 10 rural workers who were members of the League of Poor Campesinos, a group of landless activists and families seeking agrarian reform in the area. Media reported the police claimed they shot in self-defense. Authorities arrested 13 military and civil police officers allegedly involved in the case while an investigation was underway. In August a substitute judge released the 13 police officers.
The Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders and Amnesty International reported 58 killings of human rights defenders between January and August. The Pastoral Land Commission reported a total of 61 killings of human rights defenders in land conflicts in all of 2016 and 1,079 violent conflicts related to land disputes in 2016, the most since the NGO began tracking data in 1985.