Organizations file lawsuit against illegal removal of Venezuelans in Boa Vista
Public Civil Action asks for reparations for the migrants evicted without a court order during the pandemic by the Metropolitan Civil Guard
Religious institutions and civil society organizations that work on the defense of migrant rights, in partnership with the Federal Public Defender’s Office, filed a Public Civil Action against the forced removal by the municipal government of Boa Vista (state of Roraima), without a court order, of more than a hundred Venezuelans from an occupation in the municipality.
The lawsuit, signed by the CMDH (Center for Migration and Human Rights) – associated with the Diocese of Roraima, ASAV (Jesuit Service for Migrants) – an institution associated with the Society of Jesus, Conectas Human Rights and the Federal Public Defender’s Office, was filed on Thursday, April 30.
In the case, the organizations ask that the municipal, state and federal governments be required to provide adequate shelter to the evicted Venezuelan families within 24 hours and that these people be granted, within the same time frame, the emergency aid of R$600 that is available to Brazilians in similar conditions.
They also request the supply of food and hygiene products, the provision of tests for identifying Covid-19 and medical treatment.
The removal, considered illegal by the organizations, was carried out by the Metropolitan Civil Guard on Monday, April 27, in the neighborhood of Treze de Setembro, on the order of the Municipal Environment Department of Boa Vista.
Among the people evicted were 31 children and 10 teenagers under the age of 18. Among the adults, there were people who fall into the risk group for Covid-19, such as asthmatics, people with respiratory problems and the physically and mentally disabled.
A story run by the television channel G1 Roraima shows the use of a backhoe by the police to demolish the makeshift accommodation at the occupation known as “Clamor do Rio” and informs that the justification given by the municipal government was to prevent gatherings of people in this environmental area.
The organizations, however, draw attention to the lack of legal authorization for the measure and to the fact that the removal took place in the midst of a public health emergency caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic. There were no plans to accommodate these families after the measure.
“A municipal body responsible for environmental policies decided to interfere in matters of migration, social services, housing and public health and, in the midst of a pandemic, disperse families into the city, almost certainly forcing them to gather in another location,” reads an excerpt of the document submitted to the federal court in the state.