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MRG concerned about the situation of ​​black and other marginalized people with disabilities in Brazil

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This statement was delivered by Luciana Viegas, director of Vidas Negras com Deficiência Importam, on behalf of Minority Rights Group, the University of York, and other partners representing anti-racist organizations, quilombolas and people with disabilities in Brazil.

Madame Chair, 

My name is Luciana Viegas, director of Vidas Negras com Deficiência Importam, speaking on behalf of Minority Rights Group, the University of York, and other partners representing anti-racist organisations, quilombolas and people with disabilities in Brazil. 

We are deeply concerned about the situation of ​​black and other marginalized people with disabilities in Brazil, including quilombolas, who experience intersectional discrimination because of disability, race, gender and other personal identity characteristics that interact, maintaining their low position in society. 

Since colonization began in Brazil, the black population has been raped and tortured and many enslaved black people have acquired disabilities as a result. This population has been marginalised and segregated, even after the abolition of institutions that use asylum logic and violate human rights.

The situation of black people with disabilities continues to be affected by administrative and physical barriers to accessing economic, social and cultural rights, as well as structural discrimination, such as racism and ableism linked to the political project of genocide of the black body by the State and the country’s history of slavery and sociocultural ideas about disability as misfortune or weakness. 

As a result, black people with disabilities are more often located in the most vulnerable and violent positions in Brazilian society; they are overrepresented in homeless populations, in segregated institutions for people with disabilities, and in the criminal justice system. 

Research shows that black people are significantly more likely to live in areas that are inaccessible and with poor sanitation, which highlights the present-day link between disability, race and poverty in Brazil. This population also suffers from higher rates of violence, unemployment, restricted access to education, poorer health, fewer economic opportunities, and marginalisation from social and political participation. 

We recognize the need to urgently address issues of intersectional discrimination through comprehensive public policy and affirmative action. I thank you.

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