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     Home > Justice & Peace >  2013-11-09 18:52:23
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The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, calls for an end to the Discrimination of Brazilians of African Descent

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, submitted on Wednesday November 6th, a bill to the country’s Federal Parliament, asking that 20 percent of government posts be reserved for Brazilians of African descent. Brazil has a population of 200 million people. Fifty-one percent of these are of African descent whose ancestors were captured from Africa and taken to the country as slaves by the Portuguese. President Rousseff acknowledged that Afro-Brazilians are discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. In the past they did not have access to education because they were too poor to pay for it. Today, many have obtained it thanks to the policies introduced by ex-president Ignacio Lulla, who introduced free education for them and a law that reserved vacancies for them at state universities. However, many remain without jobs, and form the majority of the poor in the country. In certain cases those who are employed are paid less than their white counterparts who have the same qualifications. President Rouseff told Parliament that affirmative action was necessary in Brazil to end racial discrimination and social exclusion which she described as a plague for the country. We have experienced a long period of slavery that has not concluded with the end of slavery, she said. Racism has become a form of hierarchy in society, it is social, and it places Afro-Brazilians at the base of the pyramid, she lamented. She prayed that her initiative might serve as an example to other institutions, from the legislative and the judiciary to businesses and private organizations. Parliament has 45 days to discuss and vote on the bill.


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