Protest against mining at the Opening March of the ForumWoman uses her mobile phone to shoot video of a panel on Land ReformHuman Rights Tent at the IV Americas Social Forum

More than 15,000 Indigenous people at risk of being forcibly removed from their lands to make way for the construction of the Inambari Hydroelectric Center in Peru, a series of six dams in the Peruvian Amazon that will cost $15 billion dollars and, when ready, send approximately 80% of its energy to support large industries in neighboring Brazil.

Hundreds of families in fishing communities losing their livelihoods and facing forced evictions from their homes due to the expansion of the mining conglomerate TKCSA and the construction of industrial-scale port infrastructure in the Baía de Sepetiba, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  In a video produced by Brazilian NGO Políticas Alternativas para o Cone Sul, the fishermen and women ask: Is this progress — or regress?  Development for what? For whom? At what price?

In stories like these (and many others), development-induced displacement came alive and proved a pressing, cross-cutting theme at the IV Americas Social Forum last month in Asunción, Paraguay, where thousands of activists representing 800 organizations from the Americas gathered for four intense days of workshops, debates, and cultural activities.

I was in Paraguay to meet with key allies for our work on development-induced displacement and also to conduct a workshop focusing on the use of video advocacy in campaigns fighting forced evictions.

The workshop brought together about 25 people from different countries and backgrounds. Together, we looked at some of the strategies, tactics, and advantages/disadvantages of the use of video in three distinct cases:

After two hours examining the theory of video advocacy together, we turned to a bit of practice.  As a first step, participants received a 1-minute flash training on how to use Flip cameras. Then, they interviewed each other in a practical exercise that invited a reflection on the power of imagery in their own human rights experiences, motivations, and campaigns.  Here’s a glimpse of that activity:

The day after our workshop, the Forum came to a close with speeches from three Latin American presidents and a declaration of solidarity among social movements that called, among other things, for action against the model of “exclusionary and predatory development” that uproots local populations from their lands and increases migration due to lost livelihoods.

In the coming months, we’ll continue this discussion and also begin to profile more examples of how video is being used in advocacy around development-induced displacement.  Do you know of good video examples?  If so, please share them in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Forced evictions in focus at the Americas Social Forum

  1. Em Trancoso tem varias pousadas de luxo no centro e nas praias. Ano passada ficei em uma casa privada e gostei muito deste hotel de puro luxo, mais quero descobrir opções de hospedagem em trancoso este ano. Sua post me fiz sonhar com vontade e ja estou vendo passagens para chegar o mas rapido neste paraiso e desfrutar as praias lindas. Trancoso, estou chegando!

  2. Excellent article

    Development-induced displacement is the forcing of communities and individuals out of their homes, often also their homelands, for the purposes of economic development. It is a subset of forced migration. It has been historically associated with the construction of dams for hydroelectric power and irrigation purposes but also appears due to many other activities, such as mining and the creation of military installations, airports, industrial plants, weapon testing grounds, railways, road developments, urbanization, conservation projects, forestry, etc. Development-induced displacement is a social problem affecting multiple levels of human organization, from tribal and village communities to well-developed urban areas.

    According to Bogumil Terminski (2012) at least fifteen million people each year are forced to leave their homes following big development projects (dams, irrigation projects, highways, urbanization, mining, conservation of nature, etc.). Anthony Oliver-Smith (2009) and Michael M. Cernea (2006) are also estimating that current scale of DIDR amounts to 15 million people per year.

    Development-induced displacement or the forced migration in the name of development is affecting more and more people as countries move from developing to developed nations. The people that face such migration are often helpless, suppressed by the power and laws of nations.

    The lack of rehabilitation policies for migrants means that they are often compensated only monetarily – without proper mechanisms for addressing their grievances or political support to improve their livelihoods.

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