The story

Citizenship and the rights of children and adolescents


In colony and empire society, blacks were not free, they were owned by someone else, they were slaves. Although they were the main workforce, performing all kinds of activities, they had no rights: they suffered physical punishment, could not attend school, generally received no medical care, and lived in unhealthy collective housing.

Throughout Brazilian history there have been many political changes that have not always represented social advances.

In the period of the Empire, the social conditions of the majority of the Brazilian population hardly changed. Blacks, for example, who made up about half the country's population, continued to work as slaves. They only gained freedom and became free men at the end of the Empire in 1888, when slavery was abolished. Women, as before, could only participate in domestic life.

Only free, high-income men won political rights - they could vote and be beds. But they represented a very small portion of the population.

In the early days of the Brazilian Republic, the political participation of the population hardly changed. Voting, for example, was the right of only literate men over 21 years of age. Women continued, excluded, that is, they could not vote. As most of the population was illiterate, it could not effectively participate in the choice of rulers.

Even those who could vote faced problems. At the beginning of the Republican period, the vote was open, ie the voter had to state who was voting. Thus rich farmers, known as colonels, practically forced voters to vote for their candidates.

It was only with the 1934 Constitution that all men and women over the age of 18 had the right to vote. From that date, the vote became secret and mandatory.

During the period of 1937 and 1945, President Getúlio Vargas imposed on the Brazilian people a Constitution that, among other things, prevented people from freely expressing their opinions, especially if they were contrary to the government, and prohibited public demonstrations. This Constitution also suspended political rights, that is, the right to choose rulers by voting.


Getúlio Vargas at the Catete Palace on October 31st.

From 1964 to 1985, Brazil had authoritarian military-led governments. Once again the Brazilian people lost their political rights: they could not choose their rulers - mayors, governors and presidents - by direct vote; they could not speak out against the government, and those who criticized would be persecuted.

Citizenship and the rights of children and adolescents

To ensure a better quality of life for children and adolescents and to ensure their citizens' rights, in 1990, the Child and Adolescent Statute came into force. In its elaboration, it was based on the idea that children and young people are in the process of development and, therefore, have specific needs that we must know and respect.

Thus, for the first time in the history of our country, children and adolescents began to have full protection recognized as a right. This means that boys and girls up to 12 years old - children - and between 12 and 18 years old - adolescents - cannot suffer violence, neglect - carelessness - cruelty, discrimination - prejudice - or exploitation, and that it is up to adults to enforce these rules. .

The Statute defines, among others, the following rights:

  • Right to life
  • right to leisure
  • right to food
  • right to liberty
  • right to dignity
  • right to education
  • right to professionalization
  • right to respect
  • right to culture
  • right to family and community life.

Link to ECA: //www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil/LEIS/L8069.htm