Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Brazil: Criticism grows against Olympics slum removals

Brazilian authorities have received plenty of criticism in preparing for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The latest critique has to do with the unfair treatment of residents of Rio’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

International human rights group Amnesty International (AI) expressed concern over evicting favela dwellers in order to accommodate several infrastructure projects for the 2016 games. AI Secretary General Salil Shetty expressed his strong doubts over officials providing fair compensation to slum residents obligated to relocate. "Everybody fully understands that some degree of movement might be inevitable when you're undergoing such a major project, but the issue is whether the fair process is being followed," Shetty said to the press.

Shetty is expected to address his concerns later this week in meetings with favela residents and government officials maybe including President Dilma Rousseff. In the meantime, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing Raquel Rolnik accused authorities of possible violations against the “right to adequate housing” in slum communities. She echoed Shetty’s concerns over unfair compensation and added that “insufficient attention is being given to access to infrastructure, services and means of subsistence in relocation sites.”

So far there have been few evictions but plenty of poor people have been affected. Rolnick noted that for the expansion of Line 5 of the Sao Paulo metro “thousands of families have bee evicted…and another ten thousand face the same fate.”

Latin American soccer columnist Tim Vickery observed in his blog that the World Cup would likely have a hard affect on the “hard-pressed Brazilian tax payer”. While that may probably be the case, Brazil’s poor are carrying a greater burden while preparations continue for the upcoming sports mega-events:

Video Source – Al Jazeera English via YouTube
Online Sources- BBC Sport, El Espectador, Reuters, Democracy Now, U.N. News Center, BBC News

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