BRAZIL  : 468 families Forced evictions/use of excessive force

AMR 19/016/2006

Further Information on UA 71/06 (AMR 19/013/2006, 30 March 2006)

Forced evictions/use of excessive force

BRAZIL  : 468 families

11 April 2006

The 468 families squatting the Prestes Maia building in central S„o Paulo, who had been scheduled for eviction on 15 April, have secured a last-minute court order postponing their eviction indefinitely.

Lawyers working for the Movimento Sem-Teto do Centro (MSTC), Homeless Movement of Central S„o Paulo, had lodged an appeal against the eviction order, and on 4 April the S„o Paul State Supreme Court ruled in their favour. The appeal hinged on the fact that since the families had lived for over a year in the building, they had rights as residents. The lawyers argued that the correct procedure in this case was to hold formal hearings in which the building’s occupants gave statements, before the judge could pass sentence. The eviction order has been suspended indefinitely while the judge considers the appeal. This is expected to last several months, and during this time no eviction will be possible.

MSTC coordinator Ivaneti de Araujo told Amnesty International, "This means that now we can breathe a little, we still don’t know for how long, but the important thing is your support has been very effective here. We don’t know how to thank you but in the name of the 468 families of Prestes Maia, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and the important thing is that today we know that we are not alone and this gives us the courage to continue our fight." (Isso significa que vamos poder suspirar mais um pouquinho n„o sabemos ainda por quanto tempo, mais o importante tambÈm e que o apoio de vocÍs esta dando bastante resultado aqui n„o sabemos nem como agradecer, mas em nomes das 468 famÌlias do Prestes Maia, eu agradeÁo muito de coraÁ„o e importante para nos hoje sabermos que n„o estamos sozinhos e isso nos dar coragem de continuar lutando.)

"We just want the law to applied equally to the families," said the lawyer defending the building’s residents, Pedro Lessi. "They are families who, even though they have no money, deserve the same treatment before the law as anyone, which they were not getting." (SÛ queremos que se aplique a lei tambÈm a eles. S„o famÌlias que, embora sem dinheiro, merecem o mesmo tratamento jurÌdico que qualquer um, e n„o estavam tendo)

No further action is requested from the UA network. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. Amnesty International will continue to monitor the situation, and take further campaigning action as necessary.

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