Venezuelan immigrants in Roraima. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

In late April 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a hundred migrants, most from Venezuela, were forcibly removed from an area of the city of Boa Vista known as Clamor do Rio. Among them were dozens of children, pregnant women, adolescents and elderly people. 

The operation, led by the Municipal Environment Department, was conducted without a court order and without any prior notice to the families. Furthermore: it did not provide any assistance to the evicted people, who suddenly found themselves with nowhere to sleep or anything to eat. 

To guarantee immediate support for the families and request a ban on further such evictions, Conectas, the Federal Public Defender’s Office, the CMDH (Center for Migration and Human Rights) and the Jesuit Service for Migrants and Refugees filed a Public Civil Action with the federal justice system in the state of Roraima. 

In the request for urgency, the organizations called for financial, food, medical and housing assistance for the people removed from Clamor do Rio. They also requested a ban on all forced removals and land repossessions during the pandemic. 

According to the organizations, the operation was completely illegal and violated the fundamental rights of the affected people. Besides the absence of a court order and a reasonable justification, which in itself is serious, the eviction occurred without observing the most basic principles of human rights: the families were not notified in advance; there was no plan to relocate the people to shelters (even temporarily); and no medical, health or food support was offered – not even to the most vulnerable people, such as children, adolescents and the elderly.

The petitioning organizations also said the operation violated the Migration Law, the Brazilian Constitution and international standards, rulings and recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations.

The Public Civil Action was received by the on-duty judge, who requested explanations from the Boa Vista municipal government, the federal government and the state government of Roraima. Upon assuming the case, the chief judge of the court denied the injunction request and also excluded Conectas, CMDH and the Jesuit Service for Migrants and Refugees from the case. 

The organizations appealed this decision, but the case has not yet been judged by a full session of the appeals court. The original case, which proceeded with the Public Defender’s Office as the sole plaintiff, was dismissed by the judge. The Office appealed this decision and this case is also awaiting judgment in the appeals court.

Technical information

  • Case: ACP 1002062-40.2020.4.01.4200
  • Court: 1st Federal Court of the Judiciary Section of Roraima
  • Status: Judgment of the regulatory appeal in the appeals court; judgment of the appeal by the Public Defender’s Office in the appeals court
  • Procedure:
    • 4/30/20: Initial petition