The buzz around the international community this week was Amnesty International’s official visit to Rio de Janeiro, and Mundo Real was there. After a year of researching the issue Amnesty saw it of pressing concern to come to the city to lend its support to the residents of displaced communities. Amnesty’s presence in Rio de Janeiro adds the wave of efforts to stop human rights and housing violations related to the World Cup and Olympic preparations.
Amnesty’s visit was highlighted by the presence of that organization’s Secretary General Salil Shetty, who took an opportunity to speak with the 70 or so community residents in attendance. Alexandre Mendes and Adriana Brito, from the Public Defender’s Office were also in attendance at the event, which took place at the Pastoral das Favela’s regular meeting location in the neighborhood of Gloria.
There was a generally positive feel to the meeting, but a noticeable undercurrent of despair from some of the community members who came to the meeting expecting Shetty to give them news that their homes would be saved. Looking to address these concerns Shetty stated that Amnesty would do what it could to help these communities.
Shety said, “the most important thing is to stay united. When people stay united and organized the face of this oppression and discrimination they can expose whats going on. When there is infighting, and no unity, these are the places that are most affected.” Shetty added “I want to make it clear. I want you to know you are not alone. We have three million members worldwide. You are not alone.”