Diversity and Civil Rights in Brazil

Diversity Civil Rights Brazil
José Vinícius Bicalho

José Vinícius Bicalho

February 22, 2017 10:37 AM

The culture and habits of the people have direct influence on their country’s legal system. When I studied at the University of Southern California, I noticed it clearly. My colleagues were in a lot of countries around the world, and many of these countries had rigorous laws about diversity. Brazilian law, however, allowed choice as an individual liberty for its citizens.

In Brazil, the Federal Constitution guarantees that civil rights completely respect diversity. We live in a country and world marked by diversity, by the pluralism of ethnicities, peoples, identities, subjectivities, and representations. Diversity is something that makes up the human condition and is intrinsically linked to the idea of humanity, which exists and is possible only with diversity. Diversity can be understood in different forms, being more commonly related to the notions of variety, plurality, and difference. The diverse, therefore, is the difference, in that one is also equal to me while I am different than the other.

See below Article 5 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution (highlights are the author’s):

Title II: Fundamental Rights and Guarantees

Chapter One: Individual and Collective Rights and Duties

Article 5

All persons are equal before the law, without any distinction whatsoever. Brazilians and foreigners residing in the country are ensured of inviolability of the right to life, to liberty, to equality, to security and to property, on the following terms:

I – men and women have equal rights and duties under the terms of this Constitution;

II – no one shall be obliged to do or refrain from doing something except by virtue of law;

III – no one shall be submitted to torture or to inhumane or degrading treatment;

IV – the expression of thought is free, and anonymity is forbidden;

V – the right of reply is ensured, in proportion to the offense, as well as compensation for property or moral damages or for damages to the image;

VI – freedom of conscience and of belief is inviolable, the free exercise of religious cults being ensured, and under the terms of the law, the protection of places of worship and their rites being guaranteed;

VII – under the terms of the law, the rendering of religious assistance in civil and military establishments of collective confinement is ensured;

VIII – no one shall be deprived of any rights by reason of religious belief or philosophical or political conviction, unless he invokes it to exempt himself from a legal obligation required of all and refuses to perform an alternative obligation established by law;

IX – the expression of intellectual, artistic, scientific, and communications activities is free, independently of censorship or license;

X – the privacy, private life, honor, and image of persons are inviolable, and the right to compensation for property or moral damages resulting from their violation is ensured;

XI – the home is the inviolable refuge of the individual, and no one may enter therein without the consent of the dweller, except in the event of flagrante delicto or disaster, or to give help, or during the day by court order;

XII – the secrecy of correspondence and of telegraphic, data, and telephone communications is inviolable, except, in the latter case by court order in the cases and in the manner prescribed by law for the purposes of criminal investigation or criminal procedural finding of facts;

XIII – the practice of any work, trade, or profession is free, observing the professional qualifications which the law shall establish;
XIV – access to information is ensured to everyone, and the confidentiality of the source shall be safeguarded whenever necessary to the professional activity;

XV – locomotion within the national territory is free in time of peace, and any person may, under the terms of the law, enter it, remain therein, or leave it with his assets;

XVI – all persons may hold peaceful meetings without weapons in places open to the public, regardless of authorization, provided that they do not frustrate another meeting previously called for the same place, subject only to prior notice to the competent authority;

XVII – freedom of association for lawful purposes is fully guaranteed, any paramilitary association being forbidden;


XLII – the practice of racism is a non-bailable crime, with no limitation, subject to the penalty of confinement, under the terms of the law.

The Brazilian Federal Constitution determines the full range of diversity, specifically about religion, race, and sex. No one shall be deprived of any rights by reason of religious belief, philosophical or political conviction, race, or sex.

In Brazil, homosexual marriage has been extended throughout the country since May 2013, when Resolution 175 of May 14, 2013, of the National Justice Council (CNJ) came into force. According to this, notaries nationwide cannot refuse to celebrate same-sex civil marriages. Before that, there were already decisions from the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and the Superior Court of Justice (STJ).

However, since the first decision of the Federal Supreme Court removed the LGBT population from legal invisibility, there is a need for a position change. The trial did not serve exclusively to recognize homosexual couples as a family; this range was far greater. It has become a landmark in guaranteeing human rights.

Furthermore, as a multiethnic country, Brazil is strict in its fight against racism. Racism is a non-bailable crime. Religious tolerance also exists in Brazil.

Imagine if the more than 6.5 billion people on the planet were the same. That would not be fun, would it? Diversity is one of the greatest riches of humankind, and the existence of different individuals in a city or country with their different cultures, ethnicities, and generations make the world more complete.


José Vinícius Bicalho Costa Jr. is an attorney at law in Brazil and Portugal. He has his master of laws (LL.M.) from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, a master’s in business law from Milton Campos Law School/MG, a postgraduate in business law from CAD-UGF/RJ, a specialization in sports law with FGV, and he graduated in law from FUMEC University/MG. He is also a professor of legal environment MBA in management of health at Faculdade de Ciências Médicas/MG and professor of business law at Centro Universitário Newton Paiva/MG and FAMINAS/MG.

Trending Articles

Presenting The Best Lawyers in Australia™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to present The Best Lawyers in Australia for 2025, marking the 17th consecutive year of Best Lawyers awards in Australia.

Australia flag over outline of country

How To Find A Pro Bono Lawyer

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers dives into the vital role pro bono lawyers play in ensuring access to justice for all and the transformative impact they have on communities.

Hands joined around a table with phone, paper, pen and glasses

How Palworld Is Testing the Limits of Nintendo’s Legal Power

by Gregory Sirico

Many are calling the new game Palworld “Pokémon GO with guns,” noting the games striking similarities. Experts speculate how Nintendo could take legal action.

Animated figures with guns stand on top of creatures

Announcing The Best Lawyers in New Zealand™ 2025 Awards

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is announcing the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in New Zealand for 2025, including individual Best Lawyers and "Lawyer of the Year" awards.

New Zealand flag over image of country outline

Legal Distinction on Display: 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™

by Best Lawyers

The industry’s best lawyers and firms working in France are revealed in the newly released, comprehensive the 15th Edition of The Best Lawyers in France™.

French flag in front of country's outline

Announcing The Best Lawyers in Japan™ 2025

by Best Lawyers

For a milestone 15th edition, Best Lawyers is proud to announce The Best Lawyers in Japan.

Japan flag over outline of country

The Best Lawyers in Singapore™ 2025 Edition

by Best Lawyers

For 2025, Best Lawyers presents the most esteemed awards for lawyers and law firms in Singapore.

Singapore flag over outline of country

Announcing the 13th Edition of Best Lawyers Rankings in the United Kingdom

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers is proud to announce the newest edition of legal rankings in the United Kingdom, marking the 13th consecutive edition of awards in the country.

British flag in front of country's outline

Announcing the 16th Edition of the Best Lawyers in Germany Rankings

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 16th edition of The Best Lawyers in Germany™, featuring a unique set of rankings that highlights Germany's top legal talent.

German flag in front of country's outline

How Much Is a Lawyer Consultation Fee?

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers breaks down the key differences between consultation and retainer fees when hiring an attorney, a crucial first step in the legal process.

Client consulting with lawyer wearing a suit

Presenting the 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers’ Compensation Legal Guide

by Best Lawyers

The 2024 Best Lawyers Employment and Workers' Compensation Legal Guide provides exclusive access to all Best Lawyers awards in related practice areas. Read below and explore the legal guide.

Illustration of several men and women in shades of orange and teal

Things to Do Before a Car Accident Happens to You

by Ellie Shaffer

In a car accident, certain things are beyond the point of no return, while some are well within an individual's control. Here's how to stay legally prepared.

Car dashcam recording street ahead

Celebrating Excellence in Law: 11th Edition of Best Lawyers in Italy™

by Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers announces the 11th edition of The Best Lawyers in Italy™, which features an elite list of awards showcasing Italy's current legal talent.

Italian flag in front of country's outline

Combating Nuclear Verdicts: Empirically Supported Strategies to Deflate the Effects of Anchoring Bias

by Sloan L. Abernathy

Sometimes a verdict can be the difference between amicability and nuclear level developments. But what is anchoring bias and how can strategy combat this?

Lawyer speaking in courtroom with crowd and judge in the foreground

The Push and Pitfalls of New York’s Attempt to Expand Wrongful Death Recovery

by Elizabeth M. Midgley and V. Christopher Potenza

The New York State Legislature recently went about updating certain wrongful death provisions and how they can be carried out in the future. Here's the latest.

Red tape blocking off a section of street

6 Ways a Lawyer Can Help You With Your Medical Malpractice Claim

by Adam Malone

If you believe you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. Read on to learn how they can help with your claim.

Doctor in white lab coat showing x-ray to patient in blue scrubs