Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called on the wealthy
nations to assume responsibility for the reconstruction of Haiti. "It
isn't possible to talk of peace in a country that lacks social justice,"
Lula remarked, August 9, in São Paulo, at a ceremony to inaugurate
Citizenship and Solidarity Week.
Lula affirmed that he
will request the United Nations to conduct an in-depth assessment of Haiti's
minimal requirements in terms of economic growth, "so that we can start
traveling around the world, talking to countries, and asking for help."
Lula will travel to Haiti
on August 15 with the Brazilian National Soccer Team. "We shall take
the Brazilian Team there, because the Haitians adore Brazilian soccer. It
is a gesture we want to show the world, that not everything demands cannons,
machine guns, and weapons of mass destruction. At times an affectionate gesture
is worth a lot more than certain wars."
Four years ago, a total
of 191 countries signed the Millennium Declaration, which establishes eight
goals to be reached by 2015. If achieved, there will be a worldwide reduction
in poverty and inequalities, besides making sustainable development more possible.
To discuss those goals,
analyze what has been done and what still remains to be done, Brazil is promoting
the first Citizenship and Solidarity Week.
"We want to remind
people of the existence of the goals and make them aware of what they are,"
explains Oded Grajew, one of the leaders of the event and president of the
Ethos Institute. "This is something that has never been done before in
the world," says Grajew, adding that he sees it as an example for others.
To celebrate Citizenship
and Solidarity Week, there will be events nationwide. The event's motto is
"We Can!" and it is to be accompanied by a publicity campaign that
will emphasis "Eight Ways to Change the World."
The eight goals in the
Millennium Declaration are: eradicate hunger and misery, provide everyone
with quality basic education, promote gender equality and protect women's
rights, reduce infant mortality rates, improve healthcare for pregnant women,
combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, increase quality of life and
respect the environment while working for development.
Brazil has a vital leadership
role to play in the fulfillment of the so-called goals of the millenium. This
was the assessment made by Carlos Lopes, representative of the United Nations
Development Program in Brazil.
"It is important
for Brazil to continue leading the developing countries in the struggle for
the goals of the millenium, and President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
has an essential role in this," Lopes affirmed on August 9, in São
Paulo, at the opening of National Citizenship and Solidarity Week
Lopes emphasized the relevance
of the eight development goals of the millenium, set forth by the UN in 2000
and approved by 191 countries. The goals form a set of eight major targets
to meet by 2015, through concrete steps by governments and society on behalf
of the elimination of poverty, reduction of inequalities, and commitment to
the sustainability of the planet. "For the first time there exists a
consensus that poverty is everybody's problem," he said.
Oded Grajew, president
of the Ethos Institute for Social Responsibility and one of the leaders of
the movement for citizenship and solidarity in the country, also underscored
Brazil's importance on the world stage for the fulfillment of the goals of
"Brazil has all it
takes to be the major ethical and social leader of the planet, the country
that will guide the world to other values," he affirmed.
Fighting Slave Labor
Brazil's Public Interest
Defense Ministry for Labor (MPT) received a donation of equipment from the
International Labor Organization (ILO), giving a boost to its activities to
combat slave-like labor.
The material includes
portable computers and printers, which will expedite the inspections carried
out by the MPT as part of the operations of the mobile group to eliminate
According to the Solicitor-General
for Labor, Sandra Lia Simón, the material is indispensable for MPT
technicians to do their job.
The donation is part of
a total of US$ 40 thousand in material offered by the ILO to the Mobile Inspection
Group to Combat Slave-like Labor, in which the MPT participates.
The coordinator of the
ILO's Project to Combat Slave-like Labor, Patrícia Audi, explains that
this donation is in acknowledgement of all the efforts made by the Ministry
of Labor, the MPT, and the Brazilian State to combat slave-like labor during
the nine years in which the mobile group has existed.
is an international reference in the fight against slave-like labor. Not only
on account of the creation of this mobile group, but also because of the measures
that have been taken with respect to this issue," Audi points out.
According to her, the
ILO has been backing and encouraging the programs carried out in Brazil. "The
organization earmarked US$ 1.7 million for the project initiated in April,
2002, to combat slave-like labor in Brazil," the ILO coordinator stated.
"Countless activities are envisioned in this project, which acts in partnership
with Brazilian society," she added.
Alessandra Bastos works for Agência Brasil (AB), the official press
agency of the Brazilian government. Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the Portuguese by David Silberstein.