Brazil, the number of homeless people increased from six
million in 2004 to seven million in 2005. In addition, about
13 million people live in precarious houses, with no access to
basic services. The number of cases of displacement and
forceful removal of rural communities has grown.
The most serious case happened in the month of
February, 2005, at the Western Industrial Park, Sonho Real
Settlement, in the city of Goiania, which caused the death of
two people and left 24 people wounded.
The removal and the destruction of housing of
approximately 4 thousand families led to the formation of a
favela around the sports gymnasium destined to give
provisional shelter to the population that had been removed.
a National Plan to Combat Displacements and Forced Removals
and to Protect the Right to Adequate Housing
Leticia Osorio**, Patricia
de Menezes Cardoso***
The Necessity of Confronting the Question of Displacement and
new millennium points to a worldwide growth of people living
in urban centers. Forecasts
estimate that in 2050 the rate of urbanization in the world
will reach 65%. Cities,
as territories of great wealth and economic, environmental,
political, and cultural diversity, should be governed in a
democratic way. The rights of their inhabitants should be
respected, which is a challenge for humanity in this new
accelerated processes of urbanization have contributed to the
degradation of urban environment, and to the privatization of
public spaces, causing poverty and social exclusion.
grassroots organizations are working to defend the rights of
the urban population to live with dignity.
It is necessary to incorporate human rights clauses into urban
policies, as well as to fight against social inequality, and
all forms of discrimination and segregation in urban
control over public policies and development projects has been
an important demand. In diverse regions of the world, there
have been many experiences of social struggles to modify the
way in which city governments relate with community-based
organizations, in order to guarantee social participation in
relation to the process of constructing just, humane, healthy,
and democratic cities in Brazil, we underline the need of the
Brazilian State to confront the problem of displacements and
forced removals that have occurred in various cities.
The International Organization of Protection of the
Right to Housing (COHRE) has pointed out how the problem of
displacements has become grave in various regions of the
world, documenting cases involving close to 4.3 million people
in 63 countries who were displaced from their homes in the
period between 1998 and 2000. Frequently, these displacements are accompanied by severe
violence, with victims detained, jailed, wounded, tortured,
and, in some cases, even killed.
Few nations have had success in protecting low-income
people that are arbitrarily displaced.
In Brazil, the number of homeless people
increased from six million in 2004 to seven million in 2005.
In addition, about 13 million people live in precarious
houses, with no access to basic services.
number of cases of displacement and forceful removals in
Brazil has grown. The
most serious case happened in the month of February, 2005, at
the Western Industrial Park, Sonho Real Settlement, in the
city of Goiania. It caused the death of two people, and 24
left people wounded. The
removal and the destruction of housing of approximately four
thousand families led to the formation of a favela
the sports gymnasium destined to give provisional shelter to
the removed population. Another
situation that we emphasize is the social impact of two cases
of removal which happened in the months of August and
September, 2005 on properties occupied by the housing
movements of the central area of the city of São Paulo, which
resulted in the formation of a favela
the removed population on the streets of Plínio Ramos and Mauá.
systematic increase of forced removals of low-income
populations that live in informal housing areas across the
country has been a constant preoccupation of diverse
non-governmental organizations and social movements that
participate in the National Forum on Urban Reform.
The removals have been undertaken by federal, state,
and municipal governments, by owners and private businesses
and by development policies financed by the World Bank, the
Inter-American Development Bank, and by the federal
March 18, 2005, the Brazilian City Councils approved
Resolution No. 31, which proposes the establishment of a
process of discussing these issues within the Judicial System.
The National Council of Justice has the responsibility of
formulating a national plan to prevent displacements.
grassroots organizations presented a set of measures that we
understand are necessary to prevent forced evictions. These
measures are based on international human rights agreements.
States that ratify the International Pact on Economic, Social,
and Cultural Rights (PISDESC), as is the case of Brazil, are
obligated to “utilize all the appropriate means to promote
and defend the right to housing and protect against forced
can be attained by a set of actions aiming at the revision of
national legislation to make it more compatible with
international human rights principles and the Federal
Constitution. Making the national legislation compatible can
prevent forced and violent displacements.
human rights principles regarding the right to housing are:
displacements are incompatible with the Pact on Social,
Economic and Cultural Rights.
forced displacement is a “permanent or temporary removal of
individuals, families, and/or communities, against their will,
from their homes and/or lands that they occupy.
displacements violate other human rights, such as the right to
life, the right to personal security, the right to
non-interference in privacy, family, and housing, and the
right to the pacific exercise of ownership.
promoting any kind of displacement, governments should assure
that all viable alternatives are explored through processes of
consultation with the affected persons, aiming at, at least,
minimizing the negative impacts.
or legal processes should be provided for those affected by
orders of displacements.
should assure that all affected individuals have the right to
adequate compensation for all property or ownership affected.
the cases in which removals are considered justifiable, these
should be implemented in strict fulfillment of the provisions
of international legislation on human rights in accordance to
the principals of reasonability and proportionality.
removals cannot result in individuals being homeless or
vulnerable to violations of other human rights, and when those
affected cannot find a solution on their own, the State should
adopt adequate measures, using all maximum available resources
to assure adequate alternatives for housing, resettlement, or
access to productive land.
Nelson Saule Junior, coordinator of the Polis Institute and
member of the National
Forum for Urban Reform.
Letícia Osório, representative of Cohre Americas and a
member of the Group of the United Nations in preventing forced
Patrícia de Menezes Cardoso, lawyer at the Polis Institute
and advisor for the National Council on Human Rights to