Cablegate: Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racism (Japer)

DE RUEHBR #1167/01 2602129
R 172129Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: In a September 8-9 technical meeting of the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Ethnic and Racial Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER) in Brasilia, the USG and GOB agreed on the following:
-- an agenda for the October 22-23 Steering Group Meeting in Salvador featuring high-level policy dialogues on education, health and labor;
-- enhancement of civil society and private sector involvement in JAPER; -- next steps to finalize guidelines for the selection and approval of projects;
-- consideration of a Brazilian Ministry of Justice proposal to train police on racial stereotyping and profiling; and
-- the need to correct a U.S.-Brazilian asymmetry in JAPER by developing good projects in the United States. In the evening of September 9, Sao Paulo CG Thomas White hosted a reception to introduce JAPER to important U.S. and Brazilian companies and to solicit their involvement in bilateral projects to reduce racial inequality. End summary.

2. The September 8-9 technical meeting of the Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Ethnic and Racial Discrimination and Promote Equality (JAPER) was hosted by the Brazilian Ministry of External Affairs (MRE) and Special Secretariat for the Promotion of Policies for Racial Equality (SEPPIR) at the Itamaraty Palace in Brasilia. The GOB team was headed by Alexandre Ghisleni, Counselor of the Brazilian Embassy, Washington, and included Magali Naves of SEPPIR, Daniel Brasil, a diplomat currently detailed to SEPPIR, and Andrea Giovannetti and Bruna Vieira de Paula of the Department of Human Rights and Social Affairs, MRE. The USG side was headed by Milton Drucker, Director of the Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs (WHA/BSC), Department of State, and included Mordica Simpson, Brazil deskoff, WHA/BSC, Blakeney Vasquez, JAPER coordinator, WHA/PDA, and CAO Jean Manes, ACAO Caroline Schneider, LES Vera Galante and POL Frederick Kaplan of the U.S. Embassy, Brasilia. Two Brazilian Ministry of Justice officials and Karine Taxman, Resident Legal Adviser, U.S. Embassy, Brasilia, also attended part of the meeting.

Preparations for the Steering Group Meeting -------------------------------------------

3. The GOB said that the Steering Group Meeting on October 22-23 would involve a total of about 150 people and would likely take place at the Pestana Bahia Hotel, Salvador, though the exact venue has not yet been determined. SEPPIR Minister Edson Santos will open the meeting and stay for the various sessions depending on the level of USG participation.

4. The GOB's first draft of a program proposal for Salvador was quite similar (too similar in the view of the USG) to the program of the last Steering Group Meeting in Washington. Moreover, the proposed program failed to build in sufficient time for government-to-government policy dialogues on key thematic areas, such as education, health and labor.

5. The GOB agreed to make the changes requested by the USG. The last draft version of the program was as follows: Thursday, October 22 -------------------- 0900 Opening. 0915 Evolution of Activities, participation of USG, GOB, civil society of both countries. 0930 Panel 1 - Health of the Black Population, participation of USG, Brazilian Ministry of Health, Sickle-Cell Association, U.S. civil society. Separate and concurrent government-to-government policy dialogue on education. 1100 Break. 1130 Panel 2 - Best Practices in Promoting Ethnic/Racial Equality in Public Security, participation of USG, Brazilian Ministry of Justice, civil society of both countries. Separate and concurrent government-to-government policy dialogue on health. 1300 Lunch. 1500 Presentation on Educational and Cultural Exchange Projects Between Brazil and the United States. Separate and concurrent government-to-government policy dialogue on labor. 2000 Cocktail reception and Benin Week cultural activity.

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Friday, October 23 ------------------ 0930 Panel 3 - Museology: Preservation and Memory of Black Culture, participation of Palmares Cultural Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Brazilian Institute of Museums, Quilombo de Conceicao das Crioulas, U.S. civil society. 1100 Break. 1130 Panel 4 - History and Culture of Africa and the Diaspora, participation of the Brazilian Ministry of Education, U.S. and Brazilian universities. 1300 Lunch. 1500 Panel 5 - Social Responsibility and Diversity, participation of Brazilian Federation of Banks and Petrobras. 1630 Separate and concurrent meetings of civil society of both countries and governments of both countries. 1700 Break. 1730 Presentation of reports, observations and next steps. 1800 Closing.

6. The program above is a work in progress and will be refined further with input from each side. In particular, the USG has suggested that consideration be given to the use of facilitators for the discussions to ensure that all participants have an opportunity to be heard. Government-to-government discussions, the USG urged, should be high-level, interactive and not based strictly on previously prepared talking points. The GOB and USG agreed to flexibility in choosing thematic areas depending on the availability of principals at the appropriate level to lead the discussions.

7. The GOB envisioned no more than 20 people around the table for the panels with only one Brazilian and one American each making very brief introductory remarks. There would follow an open discussion using a moderator and involving the wider audience seated in an outer circle. Further consideration was needed on how best to involve the private sector in the meeting and to get the active participation of several companies, both Brazilian and American. The governmental dialogues, the GOB said, are most effective when kept small and informal.

8. The USG suggested that policy dialogues focus on goals already agreed upon by both sides: for example, increase the number of teachers, especially primary school teachers, trained in multicultural education and teaching strategies, intensify joint research and professional exchanges related to diseases prevalent in Afro-descendant populations, and increase employment, retention and professional advancement of Afro-descendant and other racially discriminated groups. Brazil and the United States could benefit from the sharing of best practices.

9. The USG asked the GOB how it planned to publicize the Steering Group Meeting. The GOB said that much of the mainstream Brazilian media is not sympathetic to JAPER goals and methods and that SEPPIR has been more successful with "alternative media" and using blogs and Web sites. The USG responded that effective media outreach and communication strategies would be a key element of a successful Steering Group Meeting. The two sides, the USG said, should consider joint op-ed pieces and press interviews of high-level Steering Group members.

Role of Civil Society and the Private Sector --------------------------------------------

10. The GOB noted that Brazilian civil society will meet in Salvador on October 21 to discuss its participation in JAPER and to select its representatives. Because the Steering Group Meeting falls during Benin Week festivities in Salvador, there will already be a large presence of NGOs that focus on Brazil's African heritage. Expected Brazilian NGOs include the Sickle-Cell Association, Palmares Cultural Foundation, Brazilian Institute of Museums, a Quilombo association, and some universities. The GOB is also planning a panel discussion at the Steering Group Meeting that will focus specifically on social responsibility and diversity in the private sector with participation by the Brazilian Federation of Banks and Petrobras, Brazil's giant oil parastatal.

Outreach to Sao Paulo Business Community ----------------------------------------

11. In the evening of September 9, Milt Drucker and Mordica Simpson flew to Sao Paulo where they attended a reception hosted by the Consul General for Brazilian and U.S. private

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sector companies with established affirmative action and corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Also invited were representatives from Zumbi dos Palmares University, Brazil's first institution of higher education designed for Afro-Brazilians (which receives significant financial/private sector support) as well as representatives from some select Afro-Brazilian-oriented NGOs and the University of Sao Paulo. Business attendees included representatives of Citibank, Motorola, Nestle, and McDonalds as well as leaders of the Mais Unidos CSR group co-founded by Mission Brazil, such as Dow. Milt Drucker highlighted the significance of the JAPER to the group and encouraged participants to think about how their own CSR/affirmative action programs might fit in with JAPER,s activities. Private sector reps received Drucker,s message positively and agreed to closely examine how their own efforts could be linked up with the JAPER.

Next Steps with Private Sector ------------------------------

12. On September 30, the U.S. Department of State will also meet with U.S. business organizations based in Washington, including member companies of the U.S.-Brazil CEO Forum. There have already been discussions about JAPER with the Brazilian Information Center in Washington, which represents Brazilian companies that have business interests in the United States; many of these companies have operations in Salvador and could easily be represented at the Steering Group Meeting.

13. The USG believes that private sector involvement in JAPER should focus on the benefits to industry of social inclusion. For example, Petrobras has said it will need some 285,000 skilled petroleum workers to exploit recently discovered offshore oil reserves. By ensuring that the Afro-Brazilian population receives the education and training to fill many of these jobs, Petrobras and related companies will benefit from a larger and better qualified labor pool.

Guidelines for the Selection of Projects ----------------------------------------

14. The GOB presented a rewrite of the draft guidelines dropping altogether the section on housing. The USG presented its own rewrite with tracked changes incorporating input from the USG interagency clearance process in all six thematic areas -- education, labor, health, law and justice, housing, and Quilombola communities. The U.S. Department of Labor had made significant changes in the original text.

15. A discussion then followed on how to settle on a single set of guidelines satisfactory to both sides. The USG suggested the following: -- strengthen the preamble to provide a raison d'etre that is more explanatory; -- shorten the main text of the guidelines but provide a detailed annex, thus facilitating any changes required in the future; and -- allow for projects of varying lengths, providing schedules for completion rather than strict and uniform deadlines.

16. The GOB then raised the possibility that Brazil and the United States might work together on trilateral projects with third countries, perhaps in Africa and Latin America. The USG did not oppose the idea in principle but noted that the USG and GOB already had a full plate of activities and challenges; expanding their efforts to third countries risked diffusing resources and accomplishing less with the original target populations.

17. The GOB committed to do a further rewrite of the guidelines by September 15, taking into account the discussion at the technical meeting and the comments and changes resulting from the USG interagency clearance process. (Note: The GOB had not provided the rewrite by September 15. End note.) The USG said it would circulate the GOB rewrite among USG agencies and reply to the GOB by the end of September. The GOB said that it was important that the guidelines be approved at the October 22-23 Steering Group Meeting in Salvador; the USG agreed, noting that approval ideally would be a formality at the beginning of the meeting.

Proposal to Train Police in Racial Equality -------------------------------------------

18. Two officials of the Brazilian Ministry of Justice

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addressed the technical meeting and presented a project proposal to train Brazilian police on racial issues. The training would be for police educators who in turn train new recruits in the police academies on race relations and on dealing with issues of racism and racial profiling in the administration of justice. The proposal calls for five American experts to assist in providing training in three locations in Brazil and for the preparation in Portuguese of written training materials with case studies. Brazilian participants would include the National Program of Public Security and Citizenship (PRONASCI), the National Secretariat of Public Security (SENASP), and the Ministry of Justice.

19. The written proposal contained a number of activities to support and expand upon the main training activity, such as a comparative analysis of curricula on racial profiling, developing a basic police academy course entitled "Confronting Racial Inequality," creating mechanisms to monitor police adherence to best practices in dealing with racial issues, and exchanges between Brazilian and U.S. experts.

20. The U.S. Embassy's resident legal adviser agreed to follow up on the Brazilian proposal with her colleagues in Washington, noting that there may be a need to redefine the project more narrowly. The GOB stressed that its goal was to have an agreed-upon proposal ready for Steering Group endorsement at the October 22-23 meeting. In order to meet that objective, the two sides agreed on technical meetings between officials and partners of both countries using digital video conference (DVC) facilities in Brasilia and Washington. The first DVC is scheduled to take place on September 30 and the second on October 15.

Remaining Issues ----------------

21. The last day of the technical meeting was devoted primarily to brainstorming on unresolved issues identified by one or both sides:

-- The lack of devoted funding for projects has caused good proposals to languish. The USG said involvement of the private sector was a current priority. The GOB said that JAPER should be a catalyst for broader societal action to address racial inequality.

-- Both sides agreed there was an asymmetry in the U.S.-Brazilian relationship that if not resolved would make JAPER appear to be nothing but a U.S. assistance program for Brazil. More effort should be made to devise good projects for the United States.

-- Education will continue to be emphasized in JAPER, introducing black history into the school curriculum and improving the opportunities for blacks to obtain a university education.

-- Finally, more has to be done to ensure that JAPER involves the civil societies, private sectors and even the Congresses of both countries so that we create country-to-country relationships and not just relationships at the governmental level.

22. Comment: The technical meeting was conducted in a collaborative environment, with the GOB amenable to almost all USG requests for revisions of documents and meeting formats. By coincidence, on the second day of the technical meeting the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved a "Racial Equality Statute" that had been introduced in Congress more than six years ago (reftel). The bill has now gone to the Senate where it is expected to be approved and possibly made ready for the President's signature by November 20, Black Consciousness Day (in honor of escaped slave, warrior and Quilombo founder Zumbi dos Palmares).
The bill contains several provisions that tie into JAPER goals, including the following:
-- The GOB will provide "fiscal incentives" to private firms with more that 20 employees that have a least 20 percent blacks in their workforce.
-- African history and the history of blacks in Brazil will become mandatory subjects in public and private schools throughout the country.
-- There will be a National Health Policy for the Black Population with a focus on health issues that

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disproportionately affect blacks, such as sickle-cell anemia.

23. This cable was coordinated with Consulate General Sao Paulo and cleared by WHA Delegation to the Technical Meeting.


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