By Richard Mann, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A report released this Thursday, June 13th, by the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights (MMFDH) points out that Brazil is still displaying signs of religious intolerance in the form of physical assault, cursing, burglaries, desecration of images, homicide attempts, and criminal fires.

Umbanda ceremony during New Year’s Eve in Leblon Beach. (Photo Alamy)

Leading case cities are Natal with 191 cases, followed by São Paulo with 91, and Rio de Janeiro with 61. Natal has led the ranking since 2015.

In 2018, Dial 100 (Dial Human Rights) recorded 506 cases. Among the most affected groups is Umbanda with 72 denunciations, Candomblé with 47, Jehovah’s Witnesses with 31, African matrixes with 28, and other evangelical groups with 23.

Sérgio Queiroz, the national secretary for Global Protection, emphasizes that religious freedom is a principle guaranteed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to him, the law is the guarantee that all individuals may uphold their beliefs and publicly utter their religious or non-religious convictions.

“Religious freedom is a concept that guarantees and ensures the secularity of the State, while granting every Brazilian citizen and those who are in Brazil the right to believe or not to believe, to have or not to have a religion”, emphasizes Queiroz, in a note released by the ministry.

The secretary also emphasizes that this is a task for the body in the field of religious freedom. “We want to ensure that everyone has the right to believe or not to believe, to have or not to have a religion, to peacefully uphold their beliefs so that we may effectively build a peaceful nation in this field,” he concludes.

The occurrences declined when compared to 2017: 537 were recorded in this period. However, the figures may be higher as the underreporting rate of cases is high.

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