Stop eviction of families from agroecological settlement in Brazil
Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST) is appealing to allies to act today (November 24th) to influence a judgment expected tomorrow on the forced eviction of 63 families from the Osvaldo de Oliveira Settlement in the state of Rio de Janeiro.
For the past decade, formerly landless families involved in the MST have lived and farmed on this 1,600-hectare settlement, which plays an important economic role in the region as well as being a reference in agroecological production. The settlement is also an essential source of food for surrounding communities, serving local and regional markets as well as schools participating in the National Program for Support to School Food (PNAE).
This imminent threat to the lives of 63 families - and the broader communities they feed - is the latest in a sequence of attacks on the MST by the Brazilian government. While settlements used to receive protection under the law due to having legal land titles, long-standing settlements such as the Osvaldo de Oliveira have seen an increase in attacks since 2016, setting a dangerous precedent.
Please act today to prevent eviction of these families as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in Brazil. You can find the English translation of the letter at the bottom.
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To: Honorable Excellent Minister President of the Superior Court of Justice
Proc. Ref. Nº 0000773-11.2012.4.02.5116
We are aware of the news that the 8th Specialized Panel of the Federal Regional Court of the 2nd Region, in the records of Appeal nº 0000773-11.2012.4.02.5116, having as Rapporteur, magistrate, Dr. Marcelo Pereira da Silva, decided to repossess the 63 families of the Osvaldo de Oliveira settlement, located in the city of Macaé, Rio de Janeiro.
The Osvaldo de Oliveira settlement is a Sustainable Development Project (PDS), the first experience of its kind carried out in the state of Rio de Janeiro. For 10 years, these families have been building an exemplary model of agroecological production and environmental recovery, in a region marked by a broad process of environmental degradation.
The Osvaldo de Oliveira PDS expresses a model that reconciles economic management with ecological practices and cultural appreciation, which is fundamental for the conservation of biodiversity in the region.
In this sense, our concern regarding the fate of the families of the PDS Osvaldo is twofold:
1) The demobilization of the 1st settlement in the form of a PDS in Rio de Janeiro will impose greater environmental degradation in the territory that will affect the entire population of the region.
2) The threat of reintegration in the middle of a pandemic. In Brazil, there are more than 169 thousand deaths and more than 6 million infected. There is international concern over the exposure of these families and the entire community around the settlement to infection by COVID-19, in the event of a repossession action.
In view of the above, we request, Your Excellency:
That the suspension of repossession be guaranteed until the final procedural judgment, given the risk of irreversible damage to families that will be evicted after 10 years of production and community life in the PDS Osvaldo de Oliveira in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.