Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, has begun the week at the head of the Disarmament Caravan (Caravana do Desarmamento), which is now moving across the Northeast region.
Yesterday it was in São Luís, in Maranhão state, and today in Recife, state of Pernambuco.
The caravan enlists governors in the campaign to eliminate weapons in Brazil, and then signs contracts with them releasing monies from the Public Security Fund (Fundo Nacional de Segurança Pública).
There will be US$ 1.2 million (3.5 million reais) for Maranhão and US$ 2.4 million (6.9 million reais) for Pernambuco.
Since October 7, the caravan has gone through the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Piauí, Distrito Federal, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso and Rondônia.
So far the campaign has collected 135,914 weapons around the country.
The government pays for the weapons, and thus far has handed out US$ 3.1 million (9 million reais).
The government’s budget has earmarked US$ 10.4 million (30 million reais) to pay for weapons that are turned in this year.
Minister Bastos says that by the end of the year the campaign’s budget will be depleted.
The original target for the campaign was to collect 80,000 weapons by the end of the year – a goal that was reached in September following a surprising surge of nationwide participation.
“The caravan is something that just means participation will be even greater,” says Bastos.
The Brazilian Disarmament Campaign received a Unesco prize in the Human Rights and Peace Culture category.
In awarding the prize, Unesco described it as one of the best strategies to promote peace in Brazilian history.
For more information on the Disarmament Campaign, the following toll-free number, in Brazil, can be called: 0800-729-0038.