Brazil World Cup: Forced Evictions Violate Residents' Rights (VIDEO)


Editor's note: This article is one of several reports examining abuses ahead of the 2014 World Cup published by Publica, a Brazilian investigative journalism organization.

By Andrea Dip, Publica.

When local government officials showed up to demolish Elisangela's house in Rio de Janeiro, she wasn't home. Her 17-year-old daughter answered the door and was informed that the building would be torn down that very moment.

Panicked, the girl called her mother on the phone. "There are several men from the government here at the door; they are saying that they're going to knock down our house." Elisangela ran home and tried to argue and ask for time to arrange for another place to live, but it was no use. In a few hours, only rubble remained.

This took place in the beginning of 2011, yet to this day, Elisangela has not received compensation or been relocated. Her daughter was forced to go live with her grandmother while Elisangela struggles to find a place to live.

The minidocumentary "We Are The Legacy: The Story of Elisangela" (below) is the first in a series of videos being produced by the human rights organization Witness, in partnership with Brazil's Comitê Popular Rio Copa e Olimpíadas, to tell the story of people affected by forced evictions linked directly or indirectly to preparations for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Priscila Neri from Witness explains that the idea behind the documentaries is to counter the official narrative that everything is being carried out in accordance with the law and following dialogue with the communities.

In Elisangela's case, the reason given for her eviction was that her home, located in a group of favelas, was at risk of landslides. Yet only a few houses were torn down, and according to the Comitê Popular do Rio, the government didn't even bother to clean up the rubble. Elisangela's neighborhood, Pavão-Pavãozinho, is located between two popular neighborhoods in Rio: Ipanema and Copacabana.

According to records from the Comitê Popular do Rio, the government intends to remove more than 300 families in Elisangela's community on the grounds that their homes are at structural risk: "Until now the city has not presented a report proving any risk and has not discussed with the community the possibility of taking measures to ensure their safety."

Also according to the Comitê Popular do Rio, engineers who carried out technical surveys in areas like the Pavão-Pavãozinho neighborhood pointed out that carrying out work to eliminate the risk of landslides would be cheaper than resettling the families that live in the area.

Watch the full report in the video below (subtitles in English).

This article was translated and adapted from the original version in Portuguese. Click here to read the original on Publica, whose journalism you can support here.

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