Sao Paulo, 26 October (ENInews). The Instituto Sou da Paz is mobilizing the participation of churches and faith communities of Sao Paulo to motivate the "Campaign for Voluntary Handing In of Firearms and Ammunitions," during the current World Week for Disarmament, reports the Latin America and Caribbean Communication Agency (ALC).
The mobilization has the support of Zen Buddhists, Hare Krishnas, Kumaris Brahmas, Spiritualists, the followers of traditional African religion, Jews, Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics, according to ALC. The institute is a non-governmental organization based in Sao Paulo that works on the prevention of violence in Brazil.
"The engagement of the religions is important because they have the support and trust of the population, that feels more at ease handing in weapons in a church, for example, rather than in a police station," said one of the coordinators of Sou da Paz, Alice Ribeiro.
The Director of Sou da Paz, Melina Risso, said that with every 18 firearms collected, a life is saved. This year, the National Campaign for Disarmament collected 27,000 firearms. The person who hands in a firearm is not required to identify him or herself, and in addition is given a compensation of between 100 and 300 Reales (approximately US$60).
During the campaign, Sao Paulo will have 137 reception points for the handing in of weapons. In the last decade, the city has shown a decline of 70 per cent in the number of suicides, said Ribeiro. The index of suicides in Sao Paulo is ten of every 100,000 inhabitants, a number considered to be below the epidemic level by the World Health Organization.