Declaration against evictions in the municipality of Amadora, Portugal and plea for compliance with national and international legislation on Human rights and fundamental social rights


In light of the
following facts:

1. Thirty nine (39)
people, including 12 children, elderly and others without any income were in
the past few days evicted from their homes in the Santa Filomena neighbourhood
by the Municipal Council of Amadora; and these households were left without any
decent and adequate alternative shelter.

2. The local authority has acted through
coercion, violence and has provided ‘false’ solutions such as the payment of
one month’s rent aid to people without sufficient income to enable them to keep
such market value rent afterwards.

3. That in the present
crisis, with high unemployment and the austerity policies which have cut
mechanisms of social support across the board, there is a clear lack of access
to housing by people with low income.

4. That Portugal
crucially lacks of a housing policy that would allow low-income people access
to decent housing.

5. That what happened
in the last days is part of a systematic process of evictions and violence
perpetrated by the municipality, which has been expelling thousands of families
in these conditions over the years, all of whom live on previously abandoned
land recently purchased by investment funds and real estate companies with
strong speculative interests; and finally that state institutions such as the
police are doing the dirty work of private interests without ensuring the
safety and the rights of the families in vulnerable situation who have lived in
the neighborhood for many years or decades.

The social movements
and networks here represented take the following positions:

1. Total condemnation
of these evictions, with their problematic nature heightened by the lack of
alternative accommodation for the families concerned;

2. We censure the use
of substantial public safety resources and personnel and the use of disproportionate
violence to safeguard a private interest, a fact which has also been criticized
by the Portuguese Ombudsman (Provedor de Justiça) and constitutes both an abuse
of power and a foray into the sphere of the judiciary;

3. We consider it
unacceptable that a municipal councilman, duly and explicitly identified as
such, was arrested in the course of his duties and that he was denied any
clarifications from the authorities, which he requested as part of his legal

4. We demand
explanations from the Amadora City Council or the Ministry of Internal Affairs
of the Portuguese Government on this process, with regards to the several
illegalities committed, the violence used, the powers of the CMA and the
violation of the democratic rights of an elected local councilman.

5. We plea for
municipal and central government’s compliance with national and international
legislation for the enforcement of human rights and fundamental social rights.

6. We demand these evictions to be stopped
, especially as there are no appropriate policy responses to
these and other cases.