Sarah Mogab


Brazil is infamous for its enormously skewed distribution of income, wealth, and land. In a country where 4 percent of landowners own 79 percent of the land, an ongoing movement for land reform continues to be a source of conflict and violence in the countryside (Kay 2001: 755). Extreme poverty is highly concentrated in rural areas. Although rural workers comprise only 18 percent of the total population (Filho 2007), it is estimated that as many as 6 million families are in need of land (Thomas: 9). This struggle for land, in Brazil and elsewhere, is framed by its supporters as a fight for social justice. The landless poor are socially excluded and often denied full civil rights as citizens of Brazil. Implementing a comprehensive land reform program would alleviate poverty, empower rural workers, and help ensure all Brazilians full and equal access to the civil, economic, and social rights envisioned by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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