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Brazil: Youth Statute Enacted

(Aug. 8, 2013) On August 5, 2013, Brazil’s Parliament enacted the Youth Statute (Estatuto da Juventude) through Law No. 12,852 (Lei No. 12.852, de 5 de Agosto de 2013, PLANALTO.GOV.BR,), which provides principles and guidelines for public youth policies and stipulates the rights of young people and the creation of the “National Youth System” (Sistema Nacional da Juventude – SINAJUVE) (id. art. 1). Law No. 12,852 enters into force 180 days after its publication in the country’s official gazette (id. art. 48).

The Youth Statute defines young people as persons between 15 and 29 years of age ( 1 § 1). However, the dispositions of the Statute of the Child and Adolescent (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolecente, Lei No. 8.069 (July 13, 1980), PLANALTO.GOV.BR) are applicable to adolescents between 15 and 18 years of age, and the Youth Statute applies exceptionally, when its provisions do not conflict with the norms of full protection of adolescents set forth by the Statute of the Child and Adolescent ( 1 § 2).

The principles that govern the Youth Statute and public youth policies include, inter alia, promoting the autonomy of young people; developing and promoting social and political participation of youth, directly and through their representatives; and promoting creativity of and participation by the young in the development of the country (id. art. 2).

Public or private agents engaged in public youth policies must follow guidelines on, among other subjects, the development of structural policies, programs, and actions involving the various sectors of government and society; the encouragement of broad youth participation in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of youth policies; and the expansion of social inclusion alternatives for young people by developing programs that focus on promoting the active participation of youth in the decision-making processes that affect them (id. art. 3).

The Statute stipulates that young people have the right to:

  • citizenship, social and political participation, and representation (id. arts. 4 et seq.);
  • an education (id. arts. 7 et seq.);
  • acquisition of the necessary skills to practice a profession, work, and income (id. arts. 14 et seq.);
  • non-discrimination and equality (id. arts. 17 et seq.);
  • health (id. arts. 19 et seq.);
  • culture (id. arts. 21 et seq.);
  • communication and freedom of expression (id. arts. 26 et seq.);
  • sport and leisure (id. arts. 28 et seq.);
  • mobility (id. arts. 31 et seq.);
  • enjoyment of a sustainable and ecologically balanced environment (id. arts. 34 et seq.); and
  • public security and access to justice (id. arts. 37 et seq.).

The Youth Statute also establishes that the composition, organization, jurisdiction, and functioning of the “National Youth System,” as well as the financing of its activities, will be defined by the appropriate regulation (id. arts. 39 & 40).