Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reports Don't Just Sit on Shelves

In this week’s staff meeting, Carlos Quesada, Director of Global Rights' Racial and Ethnic Equality Program, shared some exciting news.

AMNB at the United Nations in February 2012
Last month, Carlos was with Simone Cruz, Executive Secretary of our partner Articulação de ONGs de Mulheres Negras Brasileiras [The Network of NGOs of Afro-Brazilian Women (AMNB)] when she presented a shadow report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on the destructive discrimination that Afro-Brazilian women face, in particular, in health care and in employment. 

AMNB – with Global Rights’ support and assistance – worked incredibly hard on this report. Critically important to the report are the recommendations it makes to CEDAW on the steps the Brazilian government could take to improve the situation of Afro-Brazilian women. 

So, when Carlos announced that CEDAW included our recommendations to better protect the labor rights of Afro-descendant women in their official report to the Brazilian government, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for Global Rights and AMNB.

Why is this important?

Well, according to the 2010 Brazilian census, Afro-descendants now make up 52 percent of the Brazilian population.  The problems that women face – such as domestic violence, maternal mortality, employment, lack of education – are experienced even more acutely by Afro-Brazilian women because of discrimination based on color and gender.

Policies that specifically address discrimination against Afro-Brazilian women would positively impact 50 million women – more than a quarter of the country’s population!

Given this potential impact on so many lives and the degree of discrimination we outlined in the report, I commend CEDAW for addressing this serious issue and using our recommendations to strongly encourage the Brazilian government to take action. 

Now, we hope the Ministry of Women will follow through with their promise to create a committee comprised of civil society organizations, including AMNB, to insure that the Brazilian government adheres to CEDAW’s recommendations.

Ate Logo! (bye in Portuguese)

Posted by Susan M. Farnsworth

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