In a significant development, the Governments of the United States of America and Brazil released a joint statement on May 23, reaffirming their commitment to eliminate racial and ethnic discrimination and promote equality. The statement was issued on the occasion of a meeting of the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER).

The meeting, held at Palácio Itamaraty in Brasília, marked the first gathering of JAPER since 2013. This meeting was a fulfillment of the pledge made by Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Joseph R. Biden during their February 10 meeting in Washington, D.C. The leaders expressed their determination to revitalize JAPER as a core element of U.S.-Brazil relations.

JAPER serves as a testament to the shared commitment of both countries to advance racial equity, uphold human rights, foster social inclusion, and eradicate all forms of discrimination. Recognizing the importance of social and economic development, the fight against hunger, and the creation of opportunities for marginalized racial and ethnic communities, including African descendants and Indigenous communities, both nations emphasized these pillars as crucial elements in strengthening democracy and democratic institutions.

The bilateral discussions were attended by esteemed representatives, including Brazilian Minister of Racial Equality Anielle Franco, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Maria Laura da Rocha (acting Minister of Foreign Affairs), Minister for Women Cida Gonçalves, Deputy Minister for Human Rights and Citizenship Rita de Oliveira, as well as United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian A. Nichols, Special Representative for Racial Equity and Justice Desirée Cormier Smith, and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Elizabeth Frawley Bagley.

During the meeting, both governments committed to collaborative efforts through JAPER, with a particular focus on engaging marginalized racial and ethnic communities in both countries, including individuals of African descent and Indigenous communities.

The discussions resulted in the development of a joint work plan, focusing on four key bilateral priorities: increasing access to education, providing greater access to healthcare, addressing violence and promoting justice, and nurturing culture and preserving memory.

In addition, both sides expressed a mutual interest in exploring the role of civil society within JAPER, recognizing the value of collaboration with non-governmental organizations and grassroots movements in advancing the goals of the plan.

As the two largest democracies in the Americas, Brazil and the United States are fully committed to advancing racial equity through JAPER. Moreover, they have pledged to make this initiative a centerpiece of the 2024 bicentennial celebration of U.S.-Brazil diplomatic relations, underscoring the importance and significance they attach to this joint endeavor.

This joint statement signifies the dedication of both nations to combat racial and ethnic discrimination, promote inclusivity, and foster a society where all individuals are afforded equal rights and opportunities. The ongoing collaboration between Brazil and the United States under JAPER serves as a powerful symbol of their shared commitment to a more just and equitable future.

For further updates on the progress of JAPER and its initiatives, stay tuned for upcoming developments. The partnership between Brazil and the United States continues to pave the way for transformative change in the pursuit of equality and social justice.

By Joshi

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