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STF's Deputy Chief Justice receives the UN Working Group of Experts on Afro-descendants

 
The Deputy Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ricardo Lewandowski, received last Tuesday (3) a visit from the UN Working Group of Experts on Afro-descendants.

The visiting delegation, composed by the Experts Maya Sahali (Argelia) and Mireille Fanon-Mendes-France (France) as well as by the Techincal Advisors Esther Ojulari and Sandra Aragon, came to the STF accompanied by the International Advisor of the Secretariat of Policies for the Promotion of Racial Equality, Magali Naves, and by Márcia Canário, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Division of Human Rights.

The visit, according to the members of the groups, aimed to evaluate not only the situation of afro-descendants’ rights in Brazil, but also the administration and the access to justice, notably by Brazilian afro-descendants.

The Vice-President spoke about racism in Brazil and stressed that, in various situations, this practice occurs in an implicit form, differently from other countries. Your Excellency stated that this Brazilian reality creates major difficulties on the classification of criminal behaviors and, consequently, the application of sanctions.

Justice Ricardo Lewandowski also highlighted another question concerning afro-Brazilians which deal with a higher difficulty to attend Universities and, consequently, face greater obstacles to reach the necessary qualification to exercise functions with better retributions.

Given this situation, Justice Lewandowski explained to the visiting group the reasons that made him deliver his vote in the Action on Noncompliance of Fundamental Rights n. 186 that, filed by the Democrats Party (DEM), concerned about the institution of ethnic-racial quotas for the selection of students by the University of Brasília (UnB).

Lastly, Justice Lewandowski pointed that the administration carried out by Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa represents a landmark for the history of Brazil since he is the first afro-Brazilian President to take office at the Supreme Court of Brazil. By contrast, Your Excellency also remembered that the frame of members working on the Brazilian judicial system does not count with a significant number of afro-descendants, which reflects the difficulties found to attend this legal career.

At the end of the visit, Justice Lewandowski also delivered to the members of the UN delegation an English version of the 1988 Brazilian Federal Constitution, a booklet, also in English, which explains the Brazilian Judiciary Branch and a publication of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) that counts with Justice Lewandowski’s vote pronounced on the symbolic judgment of the ADPF 186.

To better understand the ADPF 186 case, click here.

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