CESE starts 2021 with debate about Brazil´s position on the international stage

In the week of the 25 January, CESE officially returned to work, with a meeting of the executive team to assess activities in 2020 and collectively construct a strategic agenda for the coming year. Over the following two weeks, roundtable discussions will be held to consider the central theme: “Treading the tightrope: challenges and possibilities for the fight for rights in Brazil,” with subthemes related to human rights, democracy and the demands of vulnerable populations.

The aim of these meetings is to reflect on the organization’s activities for 2021, debate challenges internally and provide input for planning. “Just like in every year, after the collective holiday period, we are meeting to return to the previous year’s evaluation processes, hold debates and run group activities about CESE’s thematic strands and lines of operation. To this end, we begin our activities with moments of analysis about the current situation and consider perspectives for confronting injustices and setbacks,” noted Sônia Mota, CESE’s Executive Director.

The first roundtable discussion took place on the afternoon of the 27 January and focused on the theme: “Brazil in the world – Views from the international context to better understand what is happening in our country.”  CESE invited researcher and educator Verônica Ferreira, representative of SOS Corpo – Feminist Institute for Democracy (SOS Corpo – Instituto Feminista para a Democracia), the Brazilian Women’s Coalition (Articulação de Mulheres Brasileiras: AMB) and the MARCOSUR Feminist Coalition; and sociologist and economist Luiz Ramalho, who has worked with international cooperation for more than 40 years, to contribute to this discussion.


These invitees provided important elements to help describe the current situation: increased inequality, an expansion in the mechanisms of racism, machismo and the (re)domestication of women, the rise of sectors on the right and extreme right, the dismantling of rights, the strengthening of political and religious fundamentalism, and attacks on democracy and political systems, not only in Brazil but also in Latin America and in other countries around the globe.

For Verônica Ferreira, this scenario filled with setbacks and challenges is, to a great extent, a reaction to advances in rights and to our constitution as a political force: “There is a correlation of forces that is global and is expressed in various places around the world.  A relationship of unequal force, with a tendency to reverse social progress.  It is a systemic reaction from the patriarchy, based on machismo.  A strong offensive against all achievements, in order to stop or limit the process for the exploration and expropriation of rights, legislation and social protection,” she asserted in reference to the growth of feminism and the political strength of women.

The debate also pointed out possible pathways to halt the devaluation of concepts and values that were guaranteed, but which today are under great threat.  Luiz Ramalho shared experiences from international disputes about values and ideals from the perspective of transformation. And, alongside Verônica Ferreira, he discussed guidance for the construction of empathy and solidarity, from the point of view of local and global relationships, as well as the creation of international multilateral arenas for denunciation and political constraint, in an organized and powerful manner, for the processes of change required in our country.

The next roundtable meetings to discuss “Treading the tightrope: challenges and possibilities for the fight for rights in Brazil,” will focus on: “Challenges and pathways for the fight to the Right to Land, Water, Territory, and Work and Income in Brazil” and “Challenges and pathways the fight to the Right to the City in Brazil and the Right to Identity and Diversity in Brazil.”