As Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the Catholic Church’s International Aid and Development Agency, Caritas Australia and its supporters are calling on the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to stop the eviction of poor and marginalised families in the country’s favelas (slum districts).
Caritas Australia has been working in partnership with the Movement for the Defence of Favela Residents (MDF) in Brazil for 29 years to support favela residents. Many of those residents do not have property rights or deeds for their homes. This partnership aims to assist them with protection of their legal rights, to build better lives and achieve dignity for their families despite the poverty in their communities.
André Delfino da Silva is an MDF Educator living in an area impacted by the World Cup developments. He is currently in Melbourne highlighting the adverse impact of these big sporting events on Brazil’s most vulnerable citizens.
“In the lead up to the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics, Brazilian authorities deemed many favelas to be ‘irregular communities’. They evicted hundreds of thousands of residents so that planned projects can go ahead,” said André.
“When families suffer eviction, the impact on their lives is very great. They don’t just lose their homes, they lose places in the school for their kids, lose their work, and their relationships suffer.”
André and Jessica da Silva have been speaking about their work to more than 50 schools at various Project Compassion events across Melbourne.
Caritas Australia has written to the heads of the IOC and FIFA urging them to ensure the protection of core human rights for the poorest of the poor in Brazil.
Hundreds of school students recently joined Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart and representatives from Brazil’s Movement for the defence of Favela Residents (MDF) for the launch of this year’s Project Compassion in Federation Square.
“Melbourne is a great sporting city; people here understand that mega sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games can bring great benefits to host nations; but these rewards are not always shared and can have very negative impacts on the poorest communities,” André said.
Source: Caritas Australia