Red card to the human rights violations of the World Cup and Olympic Games

Conectas and Ancop call for construction work to be halted until Brazil adopts a national plan for compensation and a protocol to guarantee human rights in the event of evictions


May 24, 2013

Forced evacuations of whole communities, destruction of cultural heritage, suppression of the rights of students and the elderly, police abuse committed in the name of security and a long list of other similar violations on account of mega-events such as the Word Cup and the Olympic Games will be discussed on May 28, during the 23rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Conectas – which has consultative status in the council – and the National Coalition of People’s World Cup Committees (Ancop) will organize a debate in the Palace of Nations, with representatives of the council’s member states. The side event “World Cup for Whom? Red card to the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil: Stop human rights violations arising from mega sporting events” will also launch the video of the campaign, “Who wins this match?”.

“Brazil is spending billions of dollars on infrastructure for two mega sporting events: the World Cup and the Olympics. The construction work involves urbanistic, logistic and human transformations. But who wins and who loses from this massive rearrangement?” asked Juana Kweitel, program director at Conectas, who will be in Geneva for the debates.

Forced evictions have been a major drama for Brazilian families since the preparations first started for the World Cup and Olympics. It has been estimated that at least 200,000 people are being evicted from their homes as a result of the two events, which corresponds to one in every 1,000 Brazilians.

According to Raquel Rolnik, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, the games are producing a type of urban reform, with investments in infrastructure and the removal of communities from high-value areas. “As soon as the decision is made to build infrastructure in areas previously occupied by these communities, the communities are evicted without any kind of resettlement and with very small financial compensation (...) Or even when resettlement is organized for these people, it is done on the outskirts of the city, some 30 kilometers from where they used to live,” she said.

Ancop hopes that the international community will recommend to the Brazilian government that it immediately halts the forced evacuations and, in partnership with the affected communities, create a national plan for compensation and a protocol to guarantee human rights in the event of evacuations caused by large-scale events and projects.


In October last year, São Paulo was the stage of a debate on this same topic, during the event Dialogue Conectas & Livraria Cultura: World Cup and Olympic Games, who’ll be the winner?, with the participation of Raí Oliveira, founder and director of the Athletes for Active Citizenship Association and president of the Gol de Letra Foundation; Cláudia Fávaro, of the People’s World Cup Committee of Porto Alegre; and Patrick Bond, of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

“In my experience and from what we saw happen in South Africa, there is no doubt that the winners are those who wield the power. It’s Fifa, the mafia. The money generated by the South African World Cup, more than US$2 billion, was sent to Zurich, a city where some of the world’s biggest tyrants keep their money,” said Patrick Bond, about his experience with the 2010 World Cup.

“The human rights point of view has to be a premise, something that comes before an event of this magnitude,” added Raí Oliveira, who considers sport to be a right, not just a high-performance activity.
The event will take place during the 23rd Session of the Council in Geneva, at 12 p.m. on May 28. See more information on the debate below.

Launch of the documentary: FIFA World Cup 2014 – Who wins this match?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Room IX – 12 p.m.

Larissa da Silva Araújo – National Coalition of People’s World Cup Committees (ANCOP)
Raquel Rolnik – UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and on the right to non-discrimination in this context (video message)

Juana Kweitel –
Conectas Human Rights

+ Video

Professor Raquel Rolnik speaks about mega sporting events, such as the World Cup and the Olympics, and their impact on human rights. This video was recorded specially for broadcast at the second edition of the event “Dialogue Conectas & Livraria Cultura” on the topic “World Cup and Olympic Games, who’ll be the winner?” on October 15 last year, at the Livraria Cultura bookstore in São Paulo.

Read more:

World Cup and Olympic Games: Who’ll be the Winner? The debate as it happened

See what happened at the unprecedented debate organized by Conectas at the Livraria Cultura bookstore to discuss respect for human rights in mega-sporting events

The People’s Committees are located in the World Cup’s 12 host cities: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo

Mega-events and Human Rights Violations in Brazil

Read the executive summary of the Report from the National Coalition of Local Committees for a People's World Cup and Olympics