Culture of Peace in Brazil

Establishing a culture of peace and sustainable development are at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate. Training and research in sustainable development are among the priorities, as well as human rights education, skills for peaceful relations, good governance, Holocaust remembrance, the prevention of conflict, and peacebuilding.

Poverty, inequality, and social injustice are factors that reflect the continuous violation of human rights, including the right to life and security. 

Violence is one of the issues that cause the most significant concern in Brazilian society. Rates of violence and lack of security, especially in larger urban areas, have increased in the last couple of decades. Homicides are one of the leading causes of death among men, and the main cause of death among youth between 15 and 39 years of age. Black men are the majority of violence victims.

  • From 1980 to 2002, Brazil reported 696,056 deaths from homicides 4 – a number that could be considered one of the most alarming in the world among countries with no civil war taking place.
  • Homicides in the age group of 0 to 19 years account for 16% (111,369) of that total. Most of the cases, 87.6% (97,559) are found in the age group of 15 to 19 year-olds.
  • In 2004, the rate of 27 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants ranked the Country as 4th among 84 countries. In that very same year, the rate among adolescents and young people was much higher - up to 57.1 homicides per 100,000.
  • In 2005, on average, 23 children and adolescents were killed every day, totaling 8.4 thousand murders for that year. Of that total, approximately 5,460 (equivalent to 65%) were Afro-descendant children.
  • Data from 2012 indicate that the risk of a Black person to be murdered in Brazil is, on average, 2.5 times higher than a White person, according to the report Índice de Vulnerabilidade Juvenil à Violência e Desigualdade Racial 2014.
  • The IJV Report 2017 found that in almost all Brazilian states, Black women aged 15-29 are more at risk of exposure to violence than white girls in the same age group. The relative risk of a young Black woman being a homicide victim is 2.19 times higher than a young white woman.
  • The same report shows that among Brazilian youth aged 15-29, the chance of a young Black man being murdered is almost three times (2.70) higher than a young White man in the same age group.

From all these data, it can be considered that violence chiefly affects the youthful segment of the population in Brazil. Blacks are the most vulnerable.

Non-violence Education

Non-Violence must be an attitude within the inclusive teaching practice, involving the entire staff of the school, parents, and the surrounding community in a joint shared endeavor.

Best practices in Brazil:


Intercultural Dialogue

Although there is plenty of information, technology and knowledge available, making the world more and more interconnected, it does not mean that individuals and societies are living together with peace and justice for all. Adequate wisdom is still needed to prevent conflicts, to eradicate poverty or to make it possible for all to learn in order to live in harmony in a safe world.

Peace is more than the absence of war, it is living together with our differences – of sex, race, language, religion or culture – while furthering universal respect for justice and human rights on which such coexistence depends. Peace is a continuous process of choosing for it, which requires constant vigilance and active participation by all individuals when engaging in a sincere dialogue with other individuals and communities.

It crucial to promote and disseminate values, attitudes and behaviours conducive to dialogue, non-violence and the rapprochement of cultures in line with the principles of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, which states that: “In our increasingly diverse societies, it is essential to ensure harmonious interaction among people and groups with plural, varied and dynamic cultural identities as well as their willingness to live together. Policies for the inclusion and participation of all citizens are guarantees of social cohesion, the vitality of civil society and peace.”

Today, peace requires active investments, enlightened leadership, powerful educational values, extensive research in social innovation and a progressive media world. Every one and each of these constitutes a requirement relevant to the mission of UNESCO. The Organization contributes to world peace through its commitments to the development of education and sciences, the enrichment of cultural creativity, heritage and cultural futures, including a vibrant and peace-oriented global media structure.

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Learning to live together

“It is not enough to be connected to each other. We also share our solutions, our experiences and dreams in one great community supported by human rights and fundamental freedoms.” (Irina Bokova, ex-Director-General of UNESCO at the International Conference of National Commissions for UNESCO, Vienna, Austria, 31 May 2012).

In today’s increasingly diverse societies, UNESCO continues to accomplish every day its fundamental humanist mission to support people in understanding each other and working together to build lasting peace. UNESCO also helps to enable people to create and use knowledge for just and inclusive societies.

Yet, lasting peace rests on a complex and fragile web of daily practices embedded in local settings and the most ephemeral encounters that individuals and communities creatively maintain out of the conviction that they constitute the sustainable conditions for living together in dignity and shared prosperity.

At a time of increasing global challenges and threats, such as inequality, exclusion, violence, and sectarianism worsened by local tensions and conflicts, which undermine humanity’s cohesion, learning to live together among all members of the global community becomes more topical than ever before.

Individuals become interculturally competent through learning and life experience for successful living in the modern complexity of our world. Consequently, they become prepared to appreciate diversity as well as to manage conflicts under the values of pluralism and mutual understanding.

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