Salvador- Brazil (PANA) -- Members of the Brazilian Black Movement staged a demonstration Friday at the Convention Centre of the Brazilian State of Bahia, venue of the just-ended second Conference of Intellectuals from Africa and the Diaspora (CIAD II), demanding racial equity in their country and the adoption of a law on social quotas for students.
In a petition, the demonstrators said official data showed that four generations of blacks and persons of mixed race had the lowest school enrolment rate, the poorest salaries, and were denied access to health care services with housing conditions very poor compared to their White and Asian counterparts.
Citing statistics from the Institute of Economic and Applied Research (IPEA), the Black Movement, which groups several associations involved in the fight against racial discrimination, predicted that without a deliberate State policy it would Blacks some 30 years to catch up with Whites in school enrolment in the country.
It denounced the Brazilian academic system for allegedly encouraging social exclusion with black lecturers accounting for less than one percent of teachers in the country's public universities, a paradox for a country with a 45.
6% black population.
The Movement, which submitted its petition to Culture Minister, Gilberto Gil, said a legislation on quotas "should be understood as the Brazilian State's coherent and responsible answer to the different international legal instruments it has adhered to.
" The 1969 UN Convention for the Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and the 2001 Durban Plan of Action, which emanated from the third world conference to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance were among the legal instruments cited by the group.
The Movement noted that the application of quotas in the last four years had contributed to the creation of a network of specialists and a data bank that will facilitate the implementation, at the national level, of a legislation on quotas.