World Cup Preparations Cause Evictions
Originally Published By: Estadao
The UN has denounced the acts; awaits Brazil’s respond; Rio denies problems.
United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik, will, in the coming days, release information on the housing and human rights violations in Brazil, with a specific focus on the forced evictions and resettlements of marginalized communities in Rio de Janeiro. The documents will point to infrastructural projects already underway for the World Cup and Olympic games, as well as work for the Program for Accelerated Growth (PAC), as the direct cause of the housing violations. According to Rolnik, an official letter alleging the violations was sent in December to Brazilian officials, asking for measures be taken to stop the forced removals, but the letter fell on deaf ears.
Among the violations cited by Rolnik are the exclusion of said communities in the conversation on the forced removals; the lack of information given to residents from the government; the lack of payment or adequate compensation for the removed families; resettlements as far as 50 kilometers aware from their original homes.
“These acts violate, from the point of view of international agreements and treaties, of which Brazil is a signatory, the housing rights of these residents,” said Rolnik. “These allegations are specific to Rio, but also refer to other Brazilian cities, including Fortaleza, Sao Paolo, Curitibia and Recife.”
“Pacts.” The Rapporteur’s release also comments on “pacts” between the federal, state and municipal governments so that work for the mega-events would continue, without taking into consideration the resettlement and compensating affected families. Rolnik explains there is a “state of excess,” in relation to the building for these special events. “This occurs when none of the rights, which were hard fought for, aren’t respected, and this is happening due to the speed of the building and to the fact that Rio is the centerpiece of these Games.”
The UN’s Global Justice, in collaboration with other entities, will release information on the removals, and the alleged violations of residents in Vila Autodromo, Vila Harmonia, Vila Recreio II and Restinga, among others. These communities are among the many that will be removed to make way for a city Bus line.
A note from the City Government stated that it is “following all legal processes,” when removals are necessary. “In regards to already removed areas, many of them were located in public domain, or at risk areas. The negotiations were done with calm and all affected families will receive indemnification or were enrolled in the national housing program, “Minha Casa, Minha Vida.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations confirmed it had received the UN’s letter. The Minster of Human Rights stated through a press release, that all comments in regards to the UN’s letter were on the agenda for the next meeting of the Conselho de Defesa dos Direitos da Pessoa Humana (CDDPH), on scheduled for 13 April.
THREE QUESTIONS FOR:
Raquel Rolnik, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
1) What are the main Human Rights violations?
Marginalize communities have a right to participate and be informed on the process of removals and resettlement. This did not happen in any of the case studies. There was no work with the communities. When speaking about removals there are always two options: resettlement or financial compensations. And in this case there has also been problems with both.
2) What are other issues?
The compensations are always insufficient for families that need, new and adequate new housing. So in effect this will create new favelas or new high risk areas. As for the resettlements, what has been proposed, in almost all cases, is to transfer families to 40 or 50 kilometers away from their homes, gravely infringing on their fair housing rights.
3) Can Brazil be sanctioned for these violations?
Depending of the gravity of the violations Brazil can be sanctioned. Libya for example. Before resulting on military force, world powers sanctioned Libya because of Human Rights violations. I would like to believe, not only as a Rapporteur, but as Brazilian, that a change of course in Brazil would be welcomed. It’s about time.