Over the past few weeks, we have joined with our partner the Landless Workers Movement (MST) to campaign to extend a current eviction moratorium in Brazil. The moratorium was prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and was slated to end on March 31, 2022.
Thanks to mass mobilizations in Brazil and our international solidarity, however, the Supreme Federal Court (STF) announced they would extend the anti-eviction measure through the end of June. The Twitterstorm we joined became the number one topic in Brazilian social media and was even mentioned on Globo TV, the largest mainstream media in the country.
Had the eviction moratorium not been extended, some 150,000 families (including 20,000 rural children) would be facing violent evictions at the hands of landlords, agribusiness and both state police and private militias. Now, these communities have some breathing room to continue growing food, providing health services and building a future.
The struggle for zero evictions, and to make Argument for Not Enforcing a Fundamental Precept (ADPF) 828 permanent, continues. But for today, we at Grassroots International are joining the MST and other movements in Brazil to celebrate this hard-fought and well-deserved victory.
Below, we are sharing an article that originally appeared in Portuguese on the Landless Workers Movement (MST) website. It provides further context for the struggle and the international campaign involved.
Judges and organizations from 32 countries signed a petition to the Brazilian Supreme Court to extend the moratorium to prevent eviction in Brazil
By Lays Furtado, MST
Almost 800 signers, directed to the ministers of the Supreme Federal Court, to demand the extension of the ADPF 828 anti-eviction measure.
Through an international network, the movements that make up the national campaign Despejo Zero (Zero Evictions) received support for the extension of the Arguição de Descumprimento de Preceito Fundamental (ADPF) 828 (Argument for Not Enforcing a Fundamental Precept 828) before the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF). They denounced evictions as a violation of human rights that will increase risks to human rights and safety, given the health and socio-economic crises in Brazil at this time.
This Tuesday March 30th, a petition with all of the signatures was hand delivered to the magistrates of the Supreme Court in Brasilia. The document was directed to the president of the Supreme Court, minister Luiz Fux and to the administrator of the court, Luís Roberto Barroso.
Among the signatories there are elected government representatives from France, The United Kingdom and Cataluña. In the United States, it was signed by the president of National Lawyers Guild, as well as an additional 38 judges and lawyers. All told there were representatives from 32 countries who supported the petition that was handed to the ministers of the Supreme Court, including judges, parliamentarians, lawyers, academics and publishers from around the world.
The petition recognizes the importance of the implementation of ADPF 828, in June 2021, which made it possible to ensure that more than 14,600 families were not evicted or forcibly removed from their homes, in the midst of the pandemic. However, it highlights the permanence of the health risks that Covid-19 can still cause in an unstable situation given the emergence of new variants of the virus. This can further increase the margin of vulnerabilities that families threatened with eviction face, amid multiple crises faced in Brazil.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet ended, and there has been a worsening in Brazil’s economic conditions, leading to a aggravation of social conditions faced by the most vulnerable, we ask that your Excellencies be sensitive and extend the validity of ADPF 828, at least until the end of the pandemic,” the international community stated in the petition.
In the document, they also warn that if ADPF 828 – valid until Thursday (March 31, 2022) – is not extended, about half a million people could be evicted as early as April. This would affect the lives of more than 132,000 families in urban areas and at least 30,000 in rural areas in Brazil. Among these, about 20,000 children under the age of 12 living in the countryside could become homeless, without access to schools and more exposed to ailments due Covid.
The petition also highlights the importance of the productive role that the occupied rural areas have played in terms of the food security of their communities, in this dramatic moment when the country falls once again on the hunger map. Thus, removing these families from access to land and shelter will drastically affect access to one of the most fundamental rights, the right to food, since it is in these areas where they live and work that peasant families who are camped and settled produce food for their subsistence.
*Edited by Wesley Lima