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Brazilian government holds racial conference excluding Mestizos

Secretary Juvenal Araújo Júnior: “There is no direct attribution of the National Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality towards the Mestizo People.”

State of Amazonas laws determine Mestizo representation in racial conferences. The Organizing Committee of the Brazilian National Conference of Racial Equality demanded that Mestizo observers identify themselves as black to participate and refused proposals that came from the state of Amazonas.

The IV State Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality in Amazonas, part of the stages of the subnational conferences of the IV National Conference for the Promotion of Racial Equality (CONAPIR), was not be held. CONAPIR started today (28).

The National Secretariat for Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality (SEPPIR), an agency of the Ministry of Human Rights responsible for racial politics of the Federal Government, currently managed by Juvenal Araújo Júnior, of Tucanafro (Brazilian Social Democracy Party – PSDB), argues that mestizos are negros. Although Amazonas is one of the states of Brazil with the lowest black population in absolute numbers and percentage, for SEPPIR 82% of the population of the State would be negro.

The legislation of the State of Amazonas, however, recognizes that Mestizos are an identity distinct from blacks and determines that Mestizos have their own quotas in all conferences where other ethnic or racial groups have representation.

The Organizing Committee of the national conference had already warned in an Internet meeting (in State of Amazonas, held at State Secretary of Education) that it would not accept proposals from the State of Amazonas, on the grounds that there would be no time to print them.

The Amazonas Conference was scheduled to be held on March 27 and 28, having been postponed and then canceled.

Conferences were held in 23 states and in the Federal District.

Posted in Português.

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