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By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned on Monday the long-debated “Youth Statute” of rights concerning the country’s 15-to-29-year-olds, which grants half-price access for students and poor young people to cultural and sporting events throughout Brazil. The bill also guarantees basic rights for young people, such as access to education, training, work and an income.

Rousseff Sanctions 'Youth Statute', Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff at the signing ceremony for the Youth Statute (Estatuto da Juventude), photo by Roberto Stuckert Filho/PR.

Those who prove their families earn less than twice the local minimum wage are eligible to register (the national minimum wage is currently R$678, or US$294).

Concessionary prices will be limited to forty percent of tickets, a hotly-debated point of the draft legislation; even ahead of Monday’s signing ceremony a protest was held urging the president to veto the clause.

In the end, the president only vetoed two clauses, one of which would have given half-price interstate travel for students.

However, the bill does grant half-price local transport for all students up to 29 years of age, no matter why they are traveling. The bill also upheld a provision that mandated four seats on interstate bus services to be reserved for low-paid young people – two for free, two with a fifty percent discount.

The bill, which was finally passed by the Congress on July 9th after being debated for over nine years, sets out a number of principles and directives concerning youth-related policy at all levels – federal, state and municipal.

Whether tickets for major sporting events, such as the 2014 World Cup and the Olympics in 2016, should be included in the bill had been a major impasse. This will now be regulated independently by the “World Cup Law.”

Under the new law, bodies and organizations will be obliged to include young people in decision-making processes. State and municipal youth councils will be formed, as well as the Inter-ministerial Committee on Youth Politics, to give young people a voice in the country’s political system, says Agência Brasil.

A new system will also be created to provide information to young people on action groups and programs, as well as careers and training advice.

The bill was fast-tracked following the wave of mass anti-government protests that swept Brazil in June. There are an estimated 51 million Brazilians between the ages of fifteen and 29 that could potentially benefit from the new legislation.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.

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