President Obama and President Rousseff share a commitment to combat discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) status, to advance gender equality, to fight exploitative child and forced labor, and promote human rights. They reaffirmed their commitment to cooperation with the U.S.-Brazilian Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, the first bilateral instrument that targets racism; and the U.S.-Brazil Memorandum of Understanding on the Advancement of Women. To this end, the United States and Brazil have executed a robust series of activities and identified numerous ways to deepen and institutionalize our cooperation. We recognize President Rousseff’s commitment to empowering Afro-Brazilians, women, indigenous populations, and other traditionally marginalized groups, and we encourage continued joint cooperation in these areas.
Social inclusion is of paramount importance to both of our societies. As our populations and economies grow, and as they reap the rewards of our increased cooperation, we are committed to ensuring that benefits accrue to all sectors of society, including people of African descent; indigenous peoples; people with disabilities; and LGBT persons. The United States and Brazil have established a deep partnerships to promote social inclusion.
- Racial & Ethnic Discrimination: The United States and Brazil work collaboratively within the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality, signed in 2008. This Plan is a coordinated interagency initiative that leverages domestic policy expertise in education, health, labor, economic opportunity, and environmental justice within many domestic agencies. It is also a people-to- people initiative with independent U.S. and Brazilian civil society and private sector participation in coordination with the Department of State. The Joint Action Plan held a successful fifth steering group meeting in December 2011 in Washington, D.C., and established work plans in each thematic area for 2012-2013. Both governments have instituted legislation and policies to promote racial justice and social inclusion for all members of society.
- Recruiting, Retaining, and Advancing Women in STEM: The importance of collaboration to improve the participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) issues was the focus of a thematic session during the March 2012 Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology in Brasilia, with strong attention to mentoring and networks. Activities over the past two years include a bilateral professional exchange program of women scientists, the development of an internship program in Brazil called Future Scientists Program, and a side event at the 55th Commission on the Status of Women titled “Changing Mindsets.” The U.S. Mission in Brazil is expanding outreach to encourage more girls to apply for President Rousseff’s “Science without Borders” scholarships, and the Department of State is working with Brazil to develop mentoring and network programs for women scientists.
- Addressing, Responding to, and Preventing Gender-Based Violence (GBV): The United States and Brazil work together to address the global scourge of GBV by strengthening the capacity of third countries to address the issue, strengthening and implementing existing laws, and cooperating through a working group on trafficking in persons. In addition to the trafficking in persons working group in Brasilia, U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Thomas A. Shannon launched a new course at Guararapes College on Gender and Civic Participation in June 2011, bringing together community members from low-income neighborhoods surrounding the college campus, as well as students and teachers, to learn about women’s rights under Brazilian law.
- Advancing Women’s Economic Empowerment: The U.S.-Brazil partnership focuses on unlocking the full potential of women in Brazil and throughout the hemisphere. The U.S. Department of State’s Office for Global Women’s Issues recently invited Brazilian women to participate in a region-wide women’s entrepreneurship training program that provides business skills, mentorship, and leadership training to women who own small to mid-sized businesses. Private sector-sponsored trainings in the region will follow this program.
- Women’s Health and Literacy: The Institute for Training and Development and Smith College will partner with a Brazilian network of 53 NGOs in 16 Brazilian states, to send 20 women for six-week internships at women’s health NGOs in the United States.
- LGBT Rights: The United States and Brazil have partnered together to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT individuals as a critical part of our human rights agenda through joint collaborated on LGBT issues in both the UN Human Rights Council and the Organization of American States (OAS). We believe the OAS Special Rapporteur on LGBT Rights, announced by Brazil and the United States, could make a practical difference in the countries of the hemisphere. We are working to make this important position a reality, and we are getting closer thanks to generous support from partner countries. Brazil is a member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Geneva LGBT Core Group, which the U.S. co-chairs with Slovenia and Colombia, and the United States and Brazil were two of 85 countries to sign a joint statement on LGBT rights formulated by the Core Group.