Sometimes, quite a bit. Did you know that in Beijing alone, over 1.25 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes to make way for Olympics-related development in the lead-up to the 2008 Games? Organizations like the Center on Housing Rights & Evictions have long documented some of the most egregious abuses, noting that the pattern of displacement has repeated itself in most of the cities that have hosted major global sporting events. Not surprisingly, poor communities and ethnic minorities often pay the heaviest price (see South Africa during the 2010 World Cup and India during the 2010 Commonwealth Games for more recent examples).
Here at WITNESS, we started working on this issue in Brazil last year, when activists were beginning to organize their strategies to resist the onslaught of evictions planned around 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics. In the 12 cities chosen to host events across Brazil, thousands of families are thought to be at risk of losing their homes to make way for stadiums, roads, tourist facilities and other related infrastructure. Many have already been evicted without prior notice, fair compensation, or participation in the resettlement process (see firsthand video testimonies from communities in Rio de Janeiro here).
We caught up with several activists fighting evictions at a seminar coordinated last November by the University of São Paulo and the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Raquel Rolnik. Today, we’re launching a new series of videos featuring interviews with activists from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Amazonas, Rio Grande do Sul, and Ceará. Here’s the first question we asked them – what is a forced eviction? Watch what they responded below and then browse through this playlist for the full interviews (in Portuguese only but English captions forthcoming).
**A heartfelt thank you to the amazing volunteers that worked on shooting and editing this series: Livia Monte and Andriéllen Andrade!