Brazil’s head of the Special Secretariat for Policies to Promote Racial Equality (Seppir), Minister Matilde Ribeiro, says that Brazil is just in the first stages of building up government policies that promote racial equality.
“The black population in Brazil is not a minority. It is actually around 50% of the population. So this is not a case of setting up more public policy in a tandem arrangement with other policies. This is really a problem of social inclusion,” declared the Minister.
Ribeiro participated in an international panel on racial inequality at the University of Brasília, which discussed the problem in Cuba, Palestine and Cameroon.
She said the panel showed her that what the countries have in common is a desire to achieve peace and protect human rights, although each country has different problems in the area.
“The panel gave us a look at the living history of these countries. It was excellent preparation for the first national (Brazilian) conference,” she said.
The First National Conference on the Promotion of Racial Equality begins today in Brasília.
South Africa Example
The improvement of the economic situation of blacks in South Africa was cited as an example that Brazil could follow by minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, at an international panel on Affirmative Action and Millennium Goals.
Amorim said that from a political perspective the problem in South Africa had been resolved, although, like Brazil, there was still a lot more to be done.
As for Brazil, Amorim said the country’s grant program for students from Africa was a good example of a successful affirmative action project.