Human Rights and Solidarity
was the year that, for the first time, Brazil elected a President
of the Republic from humble origins, just like those of the
majority of people in this report. The day he was inaugurated,
January 1, 2003, was the day that hope was renewed. However,
in contrast to the euphoria, 2003 was also the year of alarming
numbers. It was a year of frightening data regarding violence
against indigenous people, for example. Twenty-two native
people were murdered in the first ten months of the year,
one of the highest rates of homicide in the last ten years,
as explained in the article by the legal advisor for the Conselho
Indigenista Missionário (Missionary Indigenist Council).
was also the year of the repression of rural workers by both
the major media and by some members of the judiciary. My close
friend and an exceptional jurist Fábio Konder Comparato
noted that we have witnessed the prioritization of economic
gain, a concern of the dominant classes, rather than of human
life. It is slander to call rural workers agitators or outlaws.
Today, all of Brazil is mobilized towards seeking a better
means for educating its children and future citizens who will
be able to take history into their own hands. In my opinion
- which is not that of a jurist, but that of an educator -
the judiciary should expedite solutions and thereby assuage
the movement that has spread to almost the entire country.
who seek land and new possibilities for production should
also have the conditions necessary for small scale production.
Brazil has the means to guarantee human rights to its people,
and it is time to carry it out with perseverance.
is necessary to quickly reduce unemployment, and to guarantee
education, housing, land, and health care to our society.
According to our national rapporteur on the right to education,
Brazil has more than 42 million people over the age of 10
who cannot use reading and writing in their daily lives; in
the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro alone there are
684,000 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 without
basic education. A survey (presented in this report by the
coordinator of the Observatório de Favelas do Rio de
Janeiro (Favela Watch in Rio de Janeiro) carried out in 53
favelas in the city showed that 62% of young people in these
communities have not completed elementary education, only
1% have completed 12 or more years of study, 51% are working
or seeking work, and the rate of unemployment is 18.6%.
new President and his close advisors have always struggled
for human rights and have even managed to topple a regime
that was considered a immovable rock. People are tired of
the continuous violence and soon their demands will reach
the level of those against the Collor government and even
those against the military repression. The entire population
needs to mobilize to achieve conditions for the full implementation
of human rights.
can only take effect if there is good information and support
from people who understand the issue. Congratulations to the
Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos (Social Network
for Justice and Human Rights) for publishing this report,
for having the courage to confront difficult challenges, and
for giving us hope!
October 30, 2003
Evaristo, Cardinal Arns
Emeritus Archbishop of São Paulo