It is estimated that some 9 million Brazilian women who live in rural areas do not have any identification documents. With the objective of extending citizenship to those women, the Land Reform Institute (Incra) is launching a campaign to allow them to obtain documents.
The campaign is called Programa Nacional de Documentação da Mulher Trabalhadora Rural (National Program to Get Documents for the Rural Worker Woman).
According to the president of Incra, Rolf Hackbart, the campaign has been successful in its attempt to correct a longstanding error.
“Women have always been shortchanged by the government, society and the family. Our priority is to get them documents. We will also be doing the same for men,” says Hockbart.
Ms Maria de Lourdes, 42, who lives in one of Brazil’s poorest regions, the Vale de Jequitinhonha, in Minas Gerais, has worked on the farm for 20 years.
She has ten children and never had a document. “Things are getting better,” she says.
“I never got documents because it was too far to go to get them. Now I just walked over here [to a local Incra office] and got an ID card, taxpayer identification and a work card – all free of charge.”
More information on the document program can be obtained at Incra offices or on a toll-free line at 0800-78-7000.
A birth certificate is the first entryway to citizenship, but it is estimated that three million people in Brazil don’t possess this document.
For this reason, the Special Secretariats of Human Rights, Promotion of Social Equality, and Women, and the Ministries of Agrarian Development, Social Development and Hunger Alleviation, Education, and Defense, with the support of non-governmental organizations and social movements, launched a campaign on August 6 to encourage the registration of births in rural areas.
Minister Nilmário Miranda of the Special Secretariat of Human Rights states that only with a birth certificate can a person have access to federal government social benefits, in addition to its constituting a starting point for the acquisition of other documents, such as working papers, an ID card, and voter registration.
The campaign, according to the Minister, will afford citizenship to millions of Brazilians, who can obtain the document at no cost. Many of these individuals live in the countryside and reside in agrarian reform camps and settlements, so the civil registry campaign will be directed at rural workers.
Miranda also informed that mobile registry offices will be set up in settlements and camps.
Translator: Allen Bennett