Although the consolidated balance of the elections to the Guardianship Councils has not yet been finalized, it can already be said that there has been an increase in popular participation. Even so, it is necessary to continue working to guarantee greater adherence and combat the conservative religious presence in these spaces.
Partial data, released by the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship (MDHC), indicates that there was a 25% increase in the participation rate, compared to what was recorded in the last vote, in 2019.
However, specialists interviewed by Brasil de Fato affirm that growth is still not enough and that it is necessary to expand communication about the elections to encourage the population to participate. Monitoring and assessment of post-election work are also considered essential.
:: Participation in the elections of the Guardianship Councils increased by 25% in the capitals (available in Portuguese) ::
Lawyer Ariel de Castro Alves, a specialist in the rights of children and young people, affirms that the scenario favors conservative movements in the vote.
Former national secretary for the Rights of Children and Adolescents and former president of the National Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents (CONANDA), Alves points out that these elections must be treated as a priority by public powers to involve the entire society. .
“As this is an electoral process with optional and non-obligatory voting, groups that are already pre-organized, such as churches, political parties, neighborhood associations and parliamentary mandates, have more strength. These sectors are the ones that participate the most, and not exactly the common voter. , especially because it has been a very little-known process.
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According to the MDHC, it is possible to confirm that at least 1.6 million people went to the polls in the Brazilian capitals. The number may increase with the consolidation of information on the more than 5 thousand municipalities that held elections.
Councilor Carlos Alberto de Souza Júnior, of the Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents of the city of São Paulo, affirms that the increase in participation is important, but still insufficient.
“I always say that I would like 10% of the population to participate. We still have the challenge of making it (the election) known. We have lost even more participation from society due to two elements: we need to improve communication channels to give to know the selection process, but we also need to generate a method to make the candidates known.
:: The new guardianship counselors will take office on January 10; The official results will be published this Tuesday the 3rd (available in Portuguese) ::
Míriam Kenzinger, professor at the School of Social Service at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), says that the increase in participation in the elections indicates a deeper commitment, but highlights that there are still consistent challenges. According to her, it is necessary to standardize the entire electoral process at the national level, from registration to voting, and invest in monitoring, profile research and training of counselors.
“Despite this progress, considerable challenges remain. The predominance of elected candidates that are aligned with conservative agendas, even with an increase in representation of the progressive democratic field, indicates that there is still some way to go to achieve full representation. convergence with the precepts of the Statute of Children and Adolescents (ECA) and our Federal Constitution.”
Míriam Kenzinger also cites the need to value professionals with the creation of a minimum salary floor, to attract qualified professionals, with secular and technical profiles. Furthermore, the professor points out that it is urgent to create conditions to expand the activities of the councils.
The map of the electoral results in the city of São Paulo, written by Paulo César de Oliveira and published by the Institute of Public and Social Cooperation, is a reflection of the presence of the conservative camp in the Guardianship Councils.
Among the 260 elected men and women, 58% are aligned with the conservative camp and 35% defend the progressive agenda and the effective application of the Statute of Children and Adolescents (ECA). Ariel de Castro Alves identifies the influence of national political polarization in this scenario.
“Several sectors, especially those who lost the national electoral process last year, were more organized, including through neo-Pentecostal churches, for participation. It is a kind of revenge in light of last year’s elections and also in favor of the conservative agendas they defend.”
:: The actions of the Guardianship Council must be based on the Federal Constitution and not on the Bible (available in Portuguese) ::
Carlos Alberto de Souza Junior affirms that overcoming the conservative agenda in the Guardianship Councils is the main challenge.
“Conservatism within an organization like the Guardianship Council completely undermines the care they provide. It fails to address the legal aspects, which defend the rights of integrality, regardless of who the child or adolescent is, what family composition it is. “Exaggerated conservatism protects the rights of its bubble.”
For Míriam Kenzinger, the elections amplified the warnings of the national network for the defense of children and youth about the influence of conservative religious groups and far-right parties in the Councils.
:: The Guardianship Council can make the difference between life and death, says Ministry (available in Portuguese) ::
He observes, however, signs of resistance on the part of the progressive camp. The teacher cites as an example the Election of the Year platform, an initiative that provided citizens with information about candidates committed to the Statute of Children and Adolescents. More than 2.5 thousand applications were collected on the website.
“In Rio de Janeiro, 26 of the 106 candidates registered through the platform were elected, indicating a movement towards more progressive representation (…) These initiatives, added to the increase in popular participation, indicate the beginning of a collective effort to counteract conservative influence and reaffirm democratic and progressive principles in the Guardianship Councils. But there is still a long way to go,” he concludes.
At the end of this week, the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship intends to publish a general and consolidated report on the elections of the Guardianship Councils.
What is the role of the Guardianship Councils?
The Guardianship Councils are municipal bodies responsible for protecting and guaranteeing the rights of children and adolescents in Brazil. They were created by the Statute of Children and Adolescents (ECA), a Brazilian legislation that establishes the rights and duties of people under 18 years of age. The main functions of the Guardianship Councils are:
Ensure the rights of children and adolescents: The main objective of the Guardianship Councils is to ensure that the fundamental rights of these young people are respected and guaranteed, as established by the ECA. This includes rights such as education, health, food, family and community life, among others. Respond to cases of violation of rights: When a situation of violation of the rights of a girl, boy or adolescent occurs, such as abuse, abandonment, exploitation, mistreatment, illegal child labor, among others, the Guardianship Councils must act to protect the victim and take necessary measures to resolve the problem. Guide families: The Guardianship Councils also have the function of guiding families in situations of risk or social vulnerability, offering support so that they can adequately care for their sons and daughters. Refer cases to the Public Ministry: When a situation of violation of rights is serious and requires judicial measures, the Guardianship Councils have the power to refer the case to the Public Ministry, who can take the necessary legal measures. Participate in protection networks: The Guardianship Councils are part of protection networks for children and adolescents, collaborating with other institutions, such as schools, health units, police, social assistance, among others, to promote the protection of rights of boys, girls and adolescents.
The Councils are made up of advisors elected by the local community and play a fundamental role in the promotion and defense of the rights of children and adolescents, acting as one of the first points of contact in cases of violation of these rights. They carry out their functions independently and autonomously, being an important instrument to guarantee compliance with the ECA at the municipal level.
Edited by: Nadini Lopes and Rodrigo Durão Coelho