Brazilians are the most fearful of violence in the world, with 83% of the country’s population very concerned about it, points out the Global Peace Index 2021, which measures the level of peace and absence of violence in 163 countries.
Published this Thursday (17) by the independent Australian think tank Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), the index shows that, compared to the fear of violence, Brazil is above the world average of 60%. The problem was still seen as the greatest risk to their own safety for 64% of the population, ahead of issues such as health, even in the year of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite being the country that fears violence the most, Brazil is not among those where the population has experienced the most violent situations in the past two years – an index that stands at 40%, or more than 20 points behind Namibia, leader in this aspect of the standings with 63%.
“Brazil may not be the most violent country in the world, but it has exceptional levels of violence, just like South America,” said Steve Killelea, founder and president of IEP. ” Maybe [o medo da violência] this may be related to the level of crime reporting and various people communicating on social media.
Killelea also points out that 58% of Brazilians feel less secure than five years ago. The indicator goes against the global trend, which shows that 75% of people say they feel as safe or safer than they did five years ago.
Another point where Brazil is swimming against the tide is the homicide rate, which despite the pandemic has increased in the country, while 116 countries have reduced their rates since 2008. In the first half of last year, 25,712 people were killed, a number 7% higher than that recorded during the same period of 2019, according to a study by the Brazilian Public Security Forum, which compiles statistics on crime in the country.
These are some of the factors that led Brazil not to move up the rankings, remaining with a level of peace considered low. The survey, conducted between January 2020 and March 2021, is based on 23 indicators grouped into three areas: security, militarization and ongoing conflicts.
The study measures the level of physical violence, weapons and crime, excluding psychological terror and verbal intimidation.
In the overall ranking, Brazil remained in 128th position, with worsening indicators such as deaths from internal conflicts and political terror and advances on issues such as the impact of terrorism and political instability. In 2020, the country was 126th, but the change is not considered a drop due to data updates.
In South America, Brazil occupies 9th place, just ahead of Colombia and Venezuela. In the region, Uruguay continues to be the leader, despite having recorded the strongest deterioration in its indices among South Americans. This is mainly due to political instability, protests and violent crime. In contrast, Argentina, in 3rd place on the continent, was the country that has advanced the most, with a decline in political terror and political instability.
Overall, South America ranked second in terms of the worst level of peace, behind only North America. The United States, which advanced seven places last year, has dropped two places in this year’s overall standings.
Despite an improvement in the Terrorism Impact Indicator, the North American country worsened in terms of political instability, internal conflicts and violent protests. The IEP president points out that these factors are linked to last year’s eventful presidential election, which resulted in an invasion of the Capitol on January 6 by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
In addition, the United States also saw several protests against racism and police violence against the black population, who had a history of violence.
These protests have spread across the world and are part of the 15,000 protests identified by the index around the world, including 5,000 linked to Covid-19. Even last year, violent protests rose 10%, even amid the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. This growth is a trend that was already happening, with a 244% increase in these acts between the years 2011 and 2019.
Belarus, ruled by dictator Alexander Lukashenko, has been the scene of many of these protests, which have contributed to the country registering the second worst deterioration in the index and falling 19 positions from 2020. There, the re-election of the autocrat, identified as fraudulent, led the population to the streets for months, which led to severe repression by the security forces.
This political instability and violent protests in various countries have helped reduce the level of peace in the world by 0.07%, according to the study, which is in its 15th edition. This is the ninth fall recorded in the past 13 years, but the second smallest in the historic series.
The militarization indicator, which had improved until last year, also contributed to the worsening. According to the president of the IEP, this decline is mainly due to the bellicose relations between the United States and Russia and between the Americans and the Chinese.
On the positive side, for the first time since 2015, we note an improvement in the rate of permanent conflicts, with a drop in deaths on the battlefields but also in the level and intensity of the fighting. According to Killelea, this is due, at least in part, to restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus.
The study points out that if the conflicts and crises of the past decade subside, they must be replaced “by a new wave of tension and uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic and growing tensions among many. of the main powers “.
The President of the IEP sees three areas as protagonists of future problems. “A lot will depend on how the world recovers economically from Covid-19 in the years to come,” he says.
In this sense, political instability and violent protests are the main concerns, especially in countries unable to recover economically from the pandemic, explains Killelea. In addition, the downward trend in militarization appears to have ended and is expected to increase in the years to come.