An independent United Nations human rights expert this week voiced concern about alleged displacement and evictions in various cities across Brazil as the country prepares to host the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
“I am particularly worried about what seems to be a pattern of lack of transparency, consultation, dialogue, fair negotiation, and participation of the affected communities in processes concerning evictions undertaken or planned in connection with the World Cup and Olympics,” said Raquel Rolnik, the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing.
Allegations concerning displacement and evictions potentially leading to rights violations were received from different cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Recife, Natal and Fortaleza.
Numerous evictions have already been executed without the families concerned being given sufficient time to propose and discuss alternatives, and without adequate plans for relocation. “Insufficient attention is being given to access to infrastructure, services and means of subsistence in relocation sites,” she said.
The Special Rapporteur also voiced concern about the very limited compensation offered to the affected communities, which is even more striking given the increased value of real estate in locations where building is taking place for the sporting events. “Insufficient compensation can result in homelessness and the formation of new informal settlements” warned the professor of urbanism and architecture at the University of Sao Paulo.
Ms. Rolnik called on federal, state and municipal authorities involved in World Cup and Olympics projects to engage in a transparent dialogue with Brazilian society, particularly with the sectors of the population directly affected.
“With the current lack of dialogue, negotiation and genuine participation in the design and implementation of World Cup and Olympics projects, the authorities at all levels should put a stop to planned evictions until dialogue and negotiation can be ensured,” she stated.
“The Government should adopt a ‘Legacy Plan’ to ensure the holding of the World Cup and Olympic Games has a positive social and environmental impact and avoids violations of human rights, including the right to adequate housing.”