The Brazilian government’s proposal to draft an Inter-American Convention Against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination and Intolerance, presented recently at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, USA, is still facing resistance from the United States and Canada.
The United States argues that the United Nations Convention Against All Forms of Racial Discrimination, approved in 1966, is sufficient, while Canada believes that this debate could be delayed a little while longer.
According to the executive secretary of the Brazilian Special Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality, Douglas Martins, the task that lies ahead is one of persuasion. “We have the support of every country except the US and Canada,” he affirmed.
The Inter-American Human Rights Commission’s Special Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons of African Descent and Racial Discrimination, established on February 25 of this year, received a US$ 65 thousand check from the Brazilian government.
The purpose is to demonstrate interest in the formulation of the Convention. But, beyond that, it is a sign that the racial question is essential to Brazil, as was corroborated by Andressa Caldas, director of Global Justice, a non-governmental organization concerned with human rights.
“We endorse this government initiative. The entire racial and Afro-descendant issue is very important. This is an expression of considerable willingness to deal with the matter,” she affirmed.
In the next OAS General Assembly, scheduled for June 5-7, Brazil will place the item on the agenda once again.
Translation: David Silberstein