The Culture Ministers of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) Thursday signed a declaration in Belém condemning racism, thus reaffirming the bloc's commitment to promoting ethnic-racial equality and combating racism in the region, Agencia Brasil reported.
The proposal, penned and put forward by Brazil’s Minister Margareth Menezes, who is acting as Pro Tempore President of Mercosur Cultural, considers that racial inequality is a structural problem to be tackled throughout the region.
The matter affects both economic inequalities and the influence of social, cultural, and political dynamics, as well as recognizing the contribution of indigenous peoples and Afro-descendants to the social formation and cultural identity of Mercosur countries.
The proposal also defines the creation of the Mercosur without racism campaign and the development of specific cultural policies for indigenous peoples and peoples from traditional communities to combat inequalities and racism.
Menezes stressed that it was time for countries to step up their campaigns against racism. Through culture, we can raise awareness, we can go deeper, especially as a tool to combat discrimination, misogyny, racism, and to fight for the rights of women too, of the people who need it most. Culture is a powerful tool for this, she said.
The countries pledged to strengthen cooperation to ensure the full exercise of the economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights of those discriminated against. In addition to adopting affirmative action with a gender perspective as a tool to combat racial inequalities and promote democracy.
Mercosur Cultural brings together Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela, although the latter’s membership has been suspended since 2017. It also includes associate states Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, which is in the process of joining the bloc.
During Thursday’s meeting, Brazil handed over the pro-tempore presidency of the bloc of culture ministers to Paraguay. The gathering is to last until Sunday, bringing together more than 500 cultural entrepreneurs in business rounds, training activities, debates, and presentations.
(Source: Agencia Brasil)