BRASILIA – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Tuesday announced the creation of a university for students of his country and Portuguese-speaking nations of Africa.
The president made the announcement at a ceremony at which he approved the Racial Equality Statute, which in its 65 articles creates a new judicial framework of rights for the Afro-Brazilian population.
Among other things, the statute sets forth that the government must facilitate blacks’ access to home mortgages and include different measures to promote the advancement of the descendents of the African slaves brought to Brazil during the Portuguese colonial period.
The statute also includes a series of actions to preserve Afro-Brazilian culture.
Lula framed the statute and the creation of the university as part of the “historic debt” his country owes to the African continent and to the slaves that came to Brazil, where “not even the abolition of slavery guaranteed them the full exercise of citizenship.”
He said that the Universidad Federal de la Integracion Luso-Afro-Brasileña (Federal University for Portuguese-Afro-Brazilian Integration) or Unilab, will begin operating next year in the northeastern city of Fortaleza.
Unilab initially will have 2,500 Brazilian students and another 2,500 students from the five Portuguese-speaking African nations: Angola; Mozambique; Guinea-Bissau; Cape Verde; and São Tome and Principe. EFE