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Law Not Enough to Solve Brazil Kids’ Plight

The United Nations Committee on Children’s Rights says that Brazil has made
progress in protecting the rights of children and adolescents with appropriate
legislation.

The UN has just received a copy of a report on the situation of young people in Brazil, which was presented by Brazilian Minister Nilmário Miranda, head of the Special Secretariat of Human Rights.


The report explains how Brazil continues to deal with the problems of quality education, sexual exploitation and youth crime.

In 1990 Brazil signed the International Convention on Children’s Rights. Since then the country was supposed to present reports every five years. However, it is only now, after 14 years, that the first report was submitted to the UN committee.

The report does not shy away from the country’s problems in this area. It relates the tragedy of early death for young boys and pregnancy for young girls.


The document states that “although progress has been made, a significant number of young people continue to live in poverty in Brazil.”

Minister Miranda explains that the problem cannot be resolved magically with laws.


“Laws are not going to change reality. We need long-term public policies that involve all levels of government, the business community and families. This is something everyone has to want and be willing to work for,” said the Minister.


Urgent Action Needed


A report prepared by a network of 27 non-governmental organizations dedicated to defending the rights of children and adolescents indicates that, if specific policies are not adopted, Brazil will achieve only three of the eight goals set out in the document, A World for Children.


The document is an agreement signed by 189 countries, Brazil among them, on ways to improve the living conditions of boys and girls around the world.

To reach these goals, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva launched the President, Child’s Friend plan in December, 2003. Based on indicators gathered for the period 1990-2002 and the investments that Lula’s government intends to make in the area of childhood and adolescence in coming years, the Child’s Friend Monitoring Network – comprising institutions such as the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef), the United Nations Education, Science, and Culture Organization (Unesco), the Abrinq Foundation, and the International Labor Organization (ILO) – drafted the report, A Brazil for Children, released last month.

According to the report, the country will manage to decrease infant mortality to a third of its current level. It will also be possible, the document states, to reduce by two-thirds the number of homes without sewage and drinking water at accessible prices and halve the number of school-age children who are not enrolled.

However, the report also points to the areas in which Brazil is not on the correct path. Among the goals that will probably not be met are the reduction of the maternal mortality rate to a third of what is now, improvement in the quality of education, and the reduction of malnutrition in children under five years old to a third of the current index.

According to Minister Nilmário Miranda of the Special Secretariat of Human Rights, the government’s analysis of the report should appear by October. But the Minister vouched right off that the reality of economic growth and renewed job creation in the country is favorable to the achievement of more goals.

Agência Brasil

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