At least 30 percent of appointed positions in Brazil’s federal government must be occupied by black and mixed-race people, according to a decree signed Tuesday by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The leftist leader, who returned for his third presidential term in January, has vowed to make Brazil’s government reflect “the face of Brazilian society,” where more than half of the population is black or mixed-race.
“Racism is at the root of inequality, that’s why it must be fought like a plague on a plantation,” Lula said during an event in the capital Brasilia, where he signed the decree and other measures to advance racial equality in this country of 213 million.
The measure is meant to “encourage the presence of black people in decision-making and leadership spaces,” the government said in a statement, adding that it will affect those who self-identify as black or brown.
The quotas for the positions of trust in the civil service, which are usually senior posts of advisers and managers, have to be met by 2025, according to the decree.
“Without race and gender equality there will be no democracy,” Lula said.
Brazil, the last country in the Americas to abolish slavery in 1888, has the largest black population outside of Africa.
But it is plagued by structural racism, with fewer than 5 percent black executives in the largest 500 Brazilian companies, according to a 2021 survey.