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Diversity In five years, almost 400 people have been victims of racism in Rondônia, says survey

With the lack of judicial police specialized in the subject, one way to promote the repression of such crimes is limited to the actions of generic police stations. (Reproduction/Internet)

Iury Lima – Cenarium Magazine

VILHENA (RO) – In the last five years, starting in 2017, 372 people from Rondonia were victims of offenses, discrimination, and contempt because of the color of their skin. These are black men and women who have experienced embarrassing situations caused by one of the worst forms of prejudice: racism. The numbers are from a survey carried out by the State Secretary of Security, Defense and Citizenship of Rondônia (Sesdec).

According to the folder, the organization of the numbers is made based on the calculation of police reports recorded by the Civil Police. Also according to the secretariat, 2019 was the year in which there were more records of these cases, totaling 88. This is followed by 87 records in 2017. The year 2021 is, so far, the period with fewer occurrences: 46 in total.

Data from Sesdec point out that 2021 is, so far, the year with the lowest rate of racism occurrences in Rondônia (Art: Guilherme Oliveira/Cenarium)

Convictions

Also in the last five years, only 11 people have been convicted by the Court of Justice of Rondônia for the crime (TJ-RO). The year 2019 also stood out as the period with more frames to racism: four arrests. The year 2021, on the other hand, besides presenting a drop in the data of occurrences, also shows a reduction in the number of convictions, being that from January to November there was only one.

Questioned by CENARIUM about the underreporting, the police chief and technical advisor to Sesdec, Júlio Ugalde, says he believes in the advance of social awareness.

“As a professional in public security and education, I always believe in the evolution of mankind (although we see barbarism with certain frequency), so I believe in a population that seeks to be aware that we must, tirelessly, fight against racism. Furthermore, in addition to this search for awareness, this reduction may have a direct contribution from the isolations, at various levels, resulting from the confrontation with the Covid-19 pandemic”, explains the delegate. 

Mapping and repression

To Ugalde, the mapping of the criminal indexes related to racism, from police occurrences, has the objective of “contributing to the definition of public policies, whether in the social, educational or public security areas”. He guarantees that, by means of this, it is possible to reach a planning focused on preventive actions and crime repression. 

The delegate also explains that since the state of Rondônia has no specialized judicial police on the subject, one way to promote the repression of such crimes is limited to the actions of the generic police stations. “However, in September of this year, Sesdec resumed the work to create a Working Committee to study and propose the creation of a Nucleus Specialized in Racial Crimes and Religious Discrimination, aiming at a differentiated treatment in the referred causes”, he points out.

The police chief and technical advisor to the Secretary of Security, Defense, and Citizenship of Rondônia (Sesdec) (Reproduction/Personal archive)

The creation will occur through an administrative process that is already in the process of editing a governmental decree, with the integration of 12 institutions, such as the Secretary of Security itself, the Civil and Military Police, the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the State Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Cepir-RO) and the Rondônia Public Defender’s Office (DPE-RO), among others.

“Through this core, we will have an agency that requires specialized knowledge to improve the quality of criminal investigations. The nucleus, if installed, will also make it possible to elaborate statistics to enable the development of new public policies to fight racism, racial discrimination, religious intolerance and other specific forms of discrimination”, explained to CENARIUM the president of the State Council for the Promotion of Racial Equality (Cepir-RO), Antonio Neto.

The president of Cepir-RO bets on the creation of a specialized nucleus to curb the incidence of racism in Rondônia (Reproduction/Personal archive)

New framework and judicial difficulty

Despite the advancement towards the repression of racism in Rondônia, some data still appear discrepant, such as the total number of convictions in 2019 being 352% higher than the number of occurrence records in the same year. The reason would be, as the delegate points out, the legal difficulty in typifying the various nuances of the crime. 

On the other hand, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) decided, on October 28 this year, that the crime of racial slurs – the practice of offending someone for reasons related to race, color, ethnicity, religion, age or disability – is now equivalent to racism, which consists of prejudice and discrimination based on perceptions of biological differences between people. In this way, the practice becomes imprescriptible, that is, it can be judged at any time after the act has been committed.