UA: 229/10 Index: AMR 19/015/2010 Brazil Date: 29 October 2010
COMMUNITY AT IMMINENT RISK OF FORCED EVICTION
The community of Restinga is in imminent risk of forced eviction due to the construction of a
highway in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro. After months of threats, on 22 October at
9:00am council workers, accompanied by heavily armed civil and military police, began
bulldozing a commercial district that has existed for over twenty years, destroying five shops.
The community was not given any prior warning of the operation, which involved over a hundred state functionaries
including heavily armed police. When they challenged council workers to produce a judicial order for the
demolitions, they were told this was not needed and that they should “keep quiet” and “not interfere”. Residents
demanded that the workers produce identification, but were threatened with arrest.
Council workers told residents that they would return by 5 November to demolish houses and that if there was any
resistance they would use force and take away their belongings. One resident told Amnesty International that on 22
October council workers destroyed his shop without warning, forcing him to construct a make-shift stall to protect
his goods and machinery. Three days later, the council returned and removed his stall, taking his merchandise away.
Since the announcement of the intention to build the Transoeste highway and the release of lists of communities
effected , including Restinga, residents of the 153 family-strong community which was established over 50 years
ago, have never received any notification of the council’s plans or opportunities to discuss the matter with officials.
Residents told Amnesty International that on a previous attempt to carry out the eviction on 22 July, council workers
arrived unannounced and sprayed “SMH” (Secretaria Municipal de Habitação) on the houses to be removed. They
were told that their houses would be demolished in five days and council workers tried to make residents sign
documents without allowing them to read them, offering them apartments in housing estates 30 kms away. They
were also told if they tried to judicially challenge the decision they would be left with nothing. Only after the
intervention of the Public Defenders Office was the eviction averted.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Portuguese or your own language:
Calling for an immediate moratorium on evictions of communities affected by the construction of the Transoeste
highway, including Restinga;
Urging that the authorities to fulfil their obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, municipal law and the Brazilian Constitution, giving residents full and timely information about
government proposals affecting their community, engaging in a genuine negotiation with the community to explore
all alternatives to eviction, and where necessary offering full compensation or alternative, adequate housing close to
the existing community;
Calling on the authorities to investigate all alleged illegal actions, threats and intimidation on the part of the
authorities against communities allocated for eviction.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 10 DECEMBER 2010 TO:
Prefeitura Municipal do Rio de Janeiro
Centro Administrativo São Sebastião
Rua Afonso Cavalcanti, 455
Cidade Nova (Estácio)
20.211-110 - Rio de Janeiro/RJ –
Fax: + 55 21 2273 9977
Salutation: Exmo. Sr. Prefeito
Secretário Municipal de Habitação
Secretaria Municipal de Habitação –
Rua Afonso Cavalcanti, 455 / 4º andar -
Anexo – Cidade Nova
Cep: 20.211 - 110
Fax: + 55 21 2293-8694 (fax)
Salutation: Exmo. Sr. Secretário
And copies to:
Dr. Alexandre Mendes
Núcleo de Terras e Habitação
Defensoria Pública Geral do Estado
Av. Marechal Câmara, 314, 2º andar –
20.020-080 - Rio de Janeiro/RJ - Brasil
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.