Posted on November 24, 2020

UN Urges Reforms in Brazil After Deadly Beating of Black Man

Agence France-Presse, November 24, 2020

The UN has said that the deadly beating of a black man by white guards in Brazil exemplified “structural racism”, and called for an independent investigation and urgent reforms in the country.

Several days of protest erupted in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, after video footage last week showed 40-year-old welder Joao Alberto Silveira Freitas being punched in the face and head by a supermarket security guard while another guard held him. Freitas later died and the two men who attacked him are currently being investigated for homicide.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman with the UN rights office, told reporters during a virtual briefing in Geneva that his killing was “an extreme but sadly all too common example of the violence suffered by Black people in Brazil”.


Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president, has downplayed structural racism there, where around 55% of its population of 212 million identifies as black or mixed-race.


Shamdasani however insisted that “structural racism, discrimination and violence people of African descent face in Brazil is documented by official data”.

She pointed to statistics showing that “the number of Afro-Brazilian victims of homicide is disproportionately higher than other groups.