Photographers focus on human rights in Rio's favelas

Image shows young person standing at the forefront of a crowd of young people.
Caption: Shout out in the favela. The t-shirt reads Amarégay, a pun using the name of the Favela da Maré, meaning both to love is gay and Maré is gay.
Photo: UN Brazil/Tomas de Aboim

Photographers in Rio de Janeiro, have been focusing on the human rights of disenfranchised groups living in the Brazilian city’s slum areas. 

Matheus Affonso

Matheus Affonso considers himself an “LGBT photographer” and believes it’s important to “portray a population that is often invisible inside the favela”, or slum area.

Shows young person smiling and posing at the camera, while at a local market.

Photo: Matheus Affonso


Jacqueline Fernandes

Journalist Jacqueline Fernandes also focuses on highlighting the challenges faced by communities living in the city’s poorest neighbourhood, such as the families of people killed during police operations in the favelas. 

Image shows a group of men and women holding signs of youth who have passed.

Photo: Jacqueline Fernandes

Ms Fernandes says she wants each person in the favela to be “recognized as a human being.” Here, the word peace is written in Portuguese, on a building riddled with bullet holes. 

The walls of a home shot multiple times displays the word peace.

Photo: Jacqueline Fernandes


Antonio Dourado

A young activist joins a march to protest against racism and violence and to call for gender equality. 

Young Brazilians protest in a call to end racism.

Photo: Antonio Dourado


Carolina Olgador

Homeless people face widespread discrimination and have to fight for their rights, according to photographer, Carolina Olgador.

A homeless person sleeps in the streets under a bench in Rio.

Photo: Carolina Olgador


Rodrigo Patricio Carvalho

“Stop Killing Us,” reads the sticker on WellDonna Taiz Coelho’s chest, in reference to the everyday threats she believes LGBTQ  people face.  

WellDonna Taiz Coelho advocates for her rights on the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The sticker on her chest reads "stop killing us."

Photo: Rodrigo Patricio Carvalho


Showcasing their work

The photos were all selected to be part of an exhibition on human rights and the SDGs, and was organized by the World Organization of the Scout Movement, UNICEF, UNFPA and the Office of the Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth in Rio de Janeiro. 

The exhbit "If the Streets Were Ours, Our voice, our rights our future" at the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio de Janeiro.

Photo: UN Brazil/Naiara Azevedo

Touring the exhibition, Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General´s Youth Envoy said:  “Photography is a really powerful way to say that the sustainable development agenda is not just about development, it’s also about human rights.” 

Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary-General's Youth Envoy tours the exhibit.

Photo: UN Brazil/Tomas de Aboim

To view the originally published photo story visit:

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