By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A new report from Fundação Abrinq and the Brazilian Ministry of Health shows a shocking increase in the number of deaths of young black Brazilian men caused by firearms over the last two decades. By 2017, eighty percent of all young men killed by firearms were black.

In 2015, seven out of ten Brazilian murder victims were black, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Brazil News,
In 2015, seven out of ten Brazilian murder victims were black, Agência Brasil Fotografias/Creative Commons.

The study also demonstrates regional discrepancies. In the Northeastern state of Ceará, by 2017 over ninety percent of young people killed by firearms were black, while in Rio de Janeiro, the proportion was split at seventy-eight percent of victims being black and over twenty-percent being white.

In São Paulo, the difference was even less extreme, with a rough split of around fifty percent of victims being black and forty-seven percent of victims being white.

The rate of black victims may look shockingly high even for Brazilian standards, but it is no secret that young black men are the most common victims of violent crime in the country, with a black youth reportedly being murdered every twenty-three minutes, according to Agência Brasil.

The astronomically high rate of violent deaths of young black Brazilians famously caused Brazilian NGOs and Human Rights organizations in 2017 to file an official complaint with the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, arguing that the Brazilian state, directly and indirectly, perpetrates the genocide of the young black population.

The causes of Brazil’s homicide rates, especially among young black men, remain complex and controversial. Some blame the country’s violent drug trafficking gangs; others the increase of crack and cocaine use in the poorer Northeastern states. Many blame the police, who in 2016, as reported by The Guardian, was responsible for almost seven percent of the total number of violent deaths in Brazil.

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