MEXICO CITY (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The political opposition in Brazil on Wednesday said the government of President Jair Bolsonaro was failing to stop violent attacks on women and LGBT+ people that have risen in the past year.
Research published this week showed murders of LGBT+ people rose more than 10% last year while reports of sexual violence increased 4% in Brazil.
Rights campaigners and political opponents of Bolsonaro said the tone of his presidential campaign last year may have stoked violence.
“The LGBT-phobic, sexist declarations from the government contribute to promoting violence,” said Fernanda Melchionna, a congresswoman with the opposition Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL).
Bolsonaro’s government “repeats macho ideas” and “dismantles public policies for women’s protection,” she said.
The research by the Brazilian Public Security Forum also found that femicides - women killed because of their gender - increased 4% to 1,206 in 2018.
More than 66,000 incidents of sexual violence were recorded last year, the highest number ever registered, and most were committed against women and girls, it said.
Bolsonaro ran a “very aggressive campaign,” said Ana Flavia Andrade, campaigns manager at All Out, an LGBT+ rights group.
“This is a person that has a history of being completely open about prejudice and who has made extremely racist comments, who has made extremely homophobic comments,” she said.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain, is known for disparaging minorities, once describing himself as a “proud” homophobe. In 2003 he told a congresswoman that he would not rape her because she did not deserve it.
Earlier this year, he warned that Brazil must not become a “gay tourism paradise” but said tourists were welcome to “come here and have sex with a woman.”
Specifically, the research said LGBT+ murders last year rose to 109 from 99 in 2017.
But it said only 10 of Brazil’s 26 states had responded to its requests for information and that the actual number of attacks against LGBT+ people was likely to be higher.
A study earlier this year by watchdog group Grupo Gay da Bahia, which uses reports of murders in social and traditional media, found as many as 320 LGBT+ people were killed in Brazil last year.
Reporting by Oscar Lopez, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org