Dec 3, 2013
12:30pm - 2:00pm    |    WILF hall, 5th floor conference room (139 MacDougal Street, New York)

A valid ID and RSVP are required for this event. Please RSVP to Audrey Watne at watnea@exchange.law.nyu.edu by November 29th. Lunch will be served.

About the Event: 

As part of its “Human Rights Defenders Series” CHRGJ and its partners at WITNESS are proud to welcome a group of activists currently visiting the United States to raise awareness about forced evictions taking place in their home country of Brazil, in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

While the World Cup and Olympics are known as symbols of global peace and cooperation, the reality for many poor communities in host countries is often quite different.  Over one million people were forcibly uprooted from their homes in Beijing in the lead-up to the 2008 Olympics.  In South Africa, thousands of families were moved to tin containers in remote areas to make way for 2010 World Cup construction.  And over the past few years, the story has repeated itself in Brazil, as it prepares to host both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.  Local activists estimate that 250,000 Brazilians either will lose or have already lost their homes in 12 Brazilian cities due to the preparations for these major sporting events.  At times, entire communities have been erased from the map, with families being left in worse conditions than before and facing heightened insecurity and more difficult access to schools, hospitals, transportation, and jobs.

Antonieta Simões is one of these Brazilians – a mother and hospital worker, she was forcibly evicted from her home in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 to make way for construction related to the 2016 Olympics.  She became a key figure in resisting the city’s plans and is still fighting to rebuild her life, while sharing her story to strengthen the call for an immediate halt to forced evictions and urgent reparations for those already affected.

Antonieta is a part of the Brazilian Network for a Peoples World Cup (ANCOP), a national coalition of affected communities, social movements and civil society groups that have been monitoring human rights violations stemming from the major sporting events and calling for an Olympic legacy that leaves behind lasting benefits for all citizens, not just a privileged few.  ANCOP’s reports have detailed widespread human rights abuses, while also explaining how new legislative enacted specifically for these sporting events have created a de facto state of exception, in which certain constitutional protections are temporarily suspended in the name of the games, special jurisdictions are introduced, and FIFA is exempt from taxes and liabilities associated with the event.

In this conversation, Antonieta will share her story and we’ll also hear from Argemiro Ferreira from the national coordination of ANCOP, both of whom have worked closely with the human rights organization WITNESS on using video to strengthen their advocacy against forced evictions.  We’ll discuss questions like: How can major sporting events like the World Cup and Olympics be used to promote and not cause human rights abuses?  How can non-state actors like the International Olympic Committee and FIFA be held accountable for their role and pressed to do more to stop human rights violations committed in their names?

More information on WITNESS’ campaign on forced evictions: http://blog.witness.org/category/campaigns/forced-evictions/

More information on ANCOP (Portuguese only)http://www.portalpopulardacopa.org.br/

More information about CHRGJ: https://chrgj.org

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