The decision to repossess an area in Maricá (RJ), occupied by around 30 low-income families, has been raising concern in the Rio de Janeiro section of the Brazilian Bar Association (OAB-RJ). Through its Human Rights Commission, the entity has been making efforts in favor of mediation both in the judicial and administrative spheres.
The area is part of the farm belonging to the company Rio Fundo Agropecuária, in the district of Ubatiba. On the site, there is a property called Casa Grande, where the families stayed in September, starting the Ecovila Maricá Occupation. The occupants claim that the place was abandoned and the property empty. In the case file, Rio Fundo Agropecuária maintains that it explores commercial activity in the place and requested the repossession. THE Brazil Agency Tried unsuccessfully to contact the company.
Lawyers Anna Cecília Faro Bonan, Hugo Ottati and Jhonathan Mattos, members of the OAB-RJ Human Rights Commission, closely monitor the situation. According to Bonan, the company’s National Register of Legal Entities (CNPJ) is inactive at the Federal Revenue Service. “If they are producing something, they are evading taxes.”
The Rio de Janeiro Public Defender’s Office informed the Justice that it carried out an inspection at the site and found 20 to 30 heads of cattle. Also according to the agency, the property was found completely empty and, in a survey, it was found that it is pledged under decisions handed down in three different lawsuits.
According to the Movimento Nacional de Luta por Moradia (MNLM), which is responsible for coordinating the occupation, the families started to live in the place because the municipality did not allocate land for the construction of Ecovila Maricá, which would be in line with the legislation. A project was presented, but it did not go ahead.
The movement refers to Municipal Law 2.864/2019, which creates the Agro-Family Technology Center, aimed at training rural producers, and the Agroecological Communes Program, in support of the development of community-based economic activities for the benefit of those enrolled in the Single Registry. for Social Programs (CadÚnico). The law states that the municipality may make land available to settle families and even propose expropriations for purposes of public interest.
The repossession decision was signed on October 26 by Judge Vitor Porto dos Santos, from the 2nd Civil Court of the Maricá District. On November 7, a visit was carried out jointly by the OAB-RJ human rights commission team and the Luiza Mahin Popular University Legal Advice Nucleus (Najup), an extension project linked to the National Faculty of Law of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).
They pointed out in a report that families are in a state of extreme socioeconomic vulnerability, made up mostly of unemployed people and women, including several single mothers who went through a situation of domestic violence and did not obtain the benefit of rent assistance, one of the protective measures provided for in the Maria da Penha Law. They also report that there was already a movement in place for the repossession.
“We were surprised by the size of the Military Police present, with an ostensible and disproportionate presence of military police carrying rifles and grenades, with the urge to cause embarrassment and coerce people to vacate immediately, stressing the environment, and not contributing, in an effective way, for a mediation of the existing land conflict”, registers the text.
According to Bonan, the presence of war was excessive since the families are mostly made up of women and the elderly. The repossession, however, was not fulfilled: the court official assessed that there were no minimum conditions necessary, since there was no guarantee of shelter for families in shelters located in the municipality, not even for children and the elderly. He returned the warrant to the court.
The Human Rights Commission of the OAB-RJ and Najup have already manifested themselves within the scope of the judicial process, asking for reconsideration of the decision considering that the Public Defender’s Office should have been summoned in advance to manifest itself, which did not occur. As they allege, the families were deprived of the right of defense. In addition to acting in the judicial sphere, the two entities move in the administrative sphere: a formal request was submitted to the Maricá city hall for the establishment of a negotiating table.
“Housing is a fundamental human right and the demand of the families that are now in the Ecovila Maricá Occupation is urgent and necessary, not fitting, in this context, the inertia and omission on the part of the public power, for a better resolution of the conflict that arises. presents”, records the note released by the OAB-RJ.
wanted by Brazil Agency, the city hall of Maricá classifies the situation as an invasion of private property. According to a note sent by the municipality, a survey by the Housing and Human Settlements Secretariat found that 28 families are in the area, of which 12 have a fixed residence in the city. For the other 16, registration was offered to receive social rent, but 14 of them would have refused the service. “It is important to clarify that agrarian reform is an exclusive responsibility of the Union, through the National Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra)”, adds the city hall.
Supreme Court decision
The setting up of a negotiating table, according to the OAB-RJ, is necessary to comply with the determination of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) in the scope of Action for Non-compliance with Fundamental Precept (ADPF) 828. This is the process that, since June 2021, had suspended orders for the removal and evictions of collective inhabited areas across the country. The decision was taken to safeguard the right to housing in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic, which brought increased social and economic insecurity to the most vulnerable population.
The suspension lasted until the end of last month, when Minister Luís Roberto Barroso denied renewing the deadline on the understanding that there is a cooling of the effects of the pandemic. However, prerequisites were set to be observed by the courts. According to Barroso’s new decision under ADPF 828, before any judicial decision, mediation commissions must be installed.
“By believing in dialogue and in the capacity of public authorities to deal with land conflicts with public policy, and not with police and violence, in order to reduce the housing deficit that plagues our state, we reiterate the need for the Municipality of Maricá to establish the negotiating table, in compliance with the decision of the STF in the ADPF, as well as the provisions of the legislation and the constitutional text on the matter”, reiterated the OAB-RJ.
Matter amended at 8:30 pm to add positioning of the municipality of Maricá.
Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News