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Legislators seek to modify the Penal Code so that racial, religious, or cultural motivations are considered as aggravating factors in the commission of a crime.
Brazil's Senate approved a bill on Wednesday to extend the penalties for racial hate crimes. This happened after a wave of nation-wide protests over the death of Joao Alberto Silveira at the hands of security personnel at a supermarket in Porto Alegre.
Silveira's death on November 19 unleashed a wave of massive protests during Black Consciousness Day. Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro dismissed the reason for the demonstrations, arguing that there are sectors interested in "creating tension" and "manufacturing discord and conflict" in the country.
His statements came after Vice President General Hamilton Mourao assured that in Brazil "racism does not exist".
Meanwhile, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) condemned the violence committed against Silveira, while also calling on authorities to address the racism situation in the country.