Annual Report: Brazil 2013

May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Brazil 2013

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  • Nilcilene Miguel de Lima, a rural activist in the municipality of Lábrea, Amazonas state, was threatened, beaten and driven from her home in May after she denounced illegal logging in the region. She was provided with armed protection through the National Protection Programme, but was withdrawn from the region after threats intensified. At least six rural workers have been killed in the region in land conflicts since 2007.
  • Environmental activist Laísa Santos Sampaio from the Praia Alta Piranheira settlement in Nova Ipixuna, Pará state, continued to receive death threats. The threats began following the killing of her sister, Maria do Espírito Santo da Silva, and brother-in-law, José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva, by contract killers in May 2011. At the end of 2012, she had still not been provided with protection because of the failure to implement the National Protection Programme.
  • In Magé, Rio de Janeiro state, the president of the local fishing association (Associação de Homens e Mulheres do Mar, Ahomar), Alexandre Anderson de Souza, and his wife, Daize Menezes, received a series of death threats. Ahomar has campaigned against the building of a petrochemical refinery in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay. In late June 2012, the bodies of two fishermen and active members of Ahomar, Almir Nogueira de Amorim and João Luiz Telles Penetra, were found in Guanabara Bay. They had been tied up before being drowned.

Housing rights

Urban infrastructure projects, many in preparation for the World Cup in 2014 and the Rio Olympics in 2016, led to the forced eviction of families in several communities across Brazil during 2012. The evictions were carried out without giving residents full and timely information about government proposals affecting their communities. The authorities also failed to engage in genuine negotiation with communities to explore all alternatives to eviction, and, where necessary, to offer full compensation or alternative, adequate housing in the area. Instead, families were moved long distances into inadequate housing, often with limited access to basic services, and in areas with serious security problems.

  • In Providência, in the centre of Rio de Janeiro, 140 houses were demolished during the year as part of an urban revitalization project in the port area, where up to 800 houses had been slated for removal.

Some evicted communities were moved long distances into Rio de Janeiro’s west zone, where many areas are dominated by milícias. Families living in housing estates in the neighbourhoods of Cosmos, Realengo and Campo Grande reported that they were threatened and harassed by members of the milícia and that some had been forced out of their apartments under duress.

  • In January, more than 6,000 people were removed from the site known as Pinheirinho in São José dos Campos, São Paulo state. Residents had been living at the site since 2004. During the eviction, police used dogs, tear gas and rubber bullets. The eviction came despite the suspension of the eviction order and amid negotiations with the federal government to find a solution that would enable residents to remain. The residents were not notified in advance, and were not given sufficient time to remove their belongings from homes. The authorities did not offer adequate alternative housing to the residents and at the end of the year most were living in degrading conditions in temporary shelters and other irregular settlements.

In the city of São Paulo, a parliamentary inquiry was launched to investigate the high incidence of fires that had destroyed a number of favelas, many of which were next to wealthy neighbourhoods. In September, 1,100 people were left homeless when the Morro do Piolho favela burned down. In November, 600 residents lost their homes in a fire that destroyed the Aracati favela. Some 400 people were left homeless by a fire in the Humaitá favela in July. Residents of the Moinho favela complained that they were prevented by police from reconstructing their houses, after a fire destroyed several houses in the community in September.

Women’s rights

Women’s sexual and reproductive rights continued to be under threat.