Brazil Needs Affirmative Action for Blacks, Indians and Gypsies, Says Minister

Brazilian society has a cultural debt with blacks, Indians, and gypsies, and reparation requires the accumulation of joint efforts by society and federal, state, and municipal governments.

This evaluation was made by Brazilian Minister Matilde Ribeiro, head of the Special Secretariat of Policies to Promote Racial Equality (SEPPIR).

She participated on Tuesday, June 20, in the 6th Intergovernmental Forum to Promote Racial Equality. The purpose of the event was to discuss the implementation of policies designed to deal with this issue at the three levels of government.

"The action of the federal government is a component of the machinery," Ribeiro remarked. She went on to say that Brazil needs to "reconstitute" the order of government policies aimed at promoting racial equality.

In her view, caring for the area of racial promotion means reordering "the entire logic" of government policy in Brazil and realizing that universalistic policies "don’t resolve" issues directly related to discrimination and exclusion.

"Affirmative actions are necessary; therefore, the results we are obtaining now are the foundation for policy-making by future municipal, state, and federal governments."

Ribeiro believes that the activities effectuated by the federal government since creating the SEPPIR early in 2003 are consistent with the stage in which the country is putting together a policy for the area.

"We established a work dynamic among the ministries through the Brasil Quilombola Program, coordinated by the SEPPIR and the presidential staff office ("Casa Civil"). We designed work methods that correspond with this policy."

According to the minister, up to this point eight "quilombo" communities formed by descendants of runaway slaves have received deeds to their lands, and 2.5 thousand of these communities have been identified.

Agência Brasil

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