Working on Peace in Brazil

Published: Wednesday, 05/17/2006 12:00 am EDT

Brazilian youth are increasingly turning guns on each other in a disturbing trend towards violent behaviour, despite national firearms control legislation that is one of the toughest in the world, according to Rubem César Fernandes, Executive-Director of the Brazilian NGO Viva Rio. Mr. César was in Ottawa last week as a panelist during the ninth annual Peacebuilding and Human Security Dialogue at the Pearson building. "Youth are killing themselves," he says. His NGO aims to combat the problem through interventions for at-risk youth (ages 15-24), including a fast-track high school program for dropouts and a series of soap operas that promotes strong family values. Mr. César says ordinary Brazilians own up to 15 million handguns, half of them illegally.

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