The Presidential secretary of Human Rights, Mário Mamede, concluded, Thursday, October 27, the defense of the second report evaluating the implementation in Brazil of the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights.
Over the course of two days, before the United Nations (UN) High Commission on Human Rights, in Geneva, Mamede emphasized some of the advances and reported on some of the challenges faced by the country in the area of human rights.
Among the advances, Mamede underscored the creation of the special secretariats for women’s policies and the promotion of racial equality and the national secretariat of human rights.
One of the highlights was the implantation of a remedial quota system for blacks at universities, a measure already adopted by 17 of the country’s public universities.
The Family Grant program also deserved special attention in the report. By the end of next year, this program is expected to reach 11.5 million families, which will have a guaranteed income enabling their children to attend school.
Another conquest, according to Mamede, was the reduction in the number of unregistered children. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), in 2002, for every million children born in the country, 24.4% did not have a birth certificate. This index dropped to 17.1% in 2004.
In the educational field, the report calls attention to the distribution of textbooks at the fundamental and secondary levels. 1.026 billion fundamental school textbooks have been distributed over the last ten years, and, altogether, 8.4 million students have been benefited. Also noted were programs to lower illiteracy rates. These programs have taken care of 1.6 million students in the past two years.
The Brazilian defense also showed what has been done to combat slave-like and child labor in Brazil. The Program for the Eradication of Child Labor (PETI) is cited in the report as a policy that is serving 930 thousand children, whose families receive cash payments to remove their children from the labor market.
With regard to people with special needs, Mamede informed that Brazil is among the five most inclusive countries in the Americas, according to a 2003 UN report.
Agrarian disputes in Brazil were another theme presented to the UN. The report shows that rural violence began to abate in 2004. According to the document, there were 42 rural assassinations attributable to agrarian conflicts in 2003, 16 in 2004, and 12 in 2005 (as of September).
All the countries that ratified the International Pact are expected to submit evaluations to the UN on the implementation of the pact in their territories. Besides Brazil, reports were presented this month by Canada, Paraguay, and Italy.
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