As Brazil Marks One-Year Countdown to 2014 World Cup, Thousands Cope with Forced Evictions


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and FIFA President Sepp Blatter will
officially mark the one-year countdown to the opening of the 2014 World Cup.
Meanwhile, thousands of Brazil’s residents struggle to rebuild their lives
after being forcibly removed from their homes to prepare for the multi-billion
dollar sports event. Thousands more fear they will be the next victims as the
government razes entire neighborhoods to make way for new infrastructure for
the World Cup, as well as the 2016 Olympics.

Saturday 15 June in Rio de Janeiro, residents affected by forced evictions will
stage a “People’s Cup,” (
more information available on their
with teams representing different communities that have been displaced or are
threatened. Local community advocates and their supporters worldwide have vowed
to turn the spotlight around the World Cup and Olympics onto the global reality
of forced evictions.

executive director Yvette Alberdingk Thijm noted, “While the world counts down
to the 2014 World Cup, another story is being told in the People’s Cup.
Communities who were likely quite excited at first about their country hosting
the ultimate football tournament, today are facing costs many of us cannot

of those affected is Michel, a resident and community leader from the Restinga
neighborhood, that was razed to prepare for the World Cup and
Olympics. Here he speaks about the experience.

Brazilians are at risk of losing—or have already lost—their homes in forced
evictions tied to preparations for the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in
2016. While mega-events such as the World Cup are a driver of forced evictions,
the phenomenon is not limited to Brazil or to major sporting events: an
estimated 15 million people across the globe are forcibly uprooted from their
homes each year as a result of on-going physical abuse, threats and
intimidation and often without consultation and compensation.

evictions in Rio violate existing legislation at the municipal, state, federal
and international levels. The Brazilian Federal Constitution establishes
housing as a basic right and Rio de Janeiro’s State Constitution and Municipal
City Code establish that publicly-owned lands should be designated social
interest housing. Under Brazil’s obligations under international law, forced
evictions constitute gross violations of a range of human rights.*

year away, people around the world are asking if Brazil will be ready to host a
successful World Cup,” said Raquel Rolnik, U.N. Special Rapporteur for adequate
housing, and native of Brazil. “A successful World Cup for Brazil and really
for any country participating cannot be built on violating human rights! World
Cup-related evictions are taking place in violation of human rights standards
but it is not too late for Brazil to change the trend. The country has the
legal framework and the money and still has time to do a better World Cup – one
without human rights abuses.”

more stories from communities affected by forced evictions in Brazil.

Join the conversation on Twitter by following #forcedevictions, #2014Brazil and #remocoesforcadas.

* — Upon further review the sentence was updated to reflect current interpretation of international human rights law.