Brazil: Increasing repression and criminalization against the Landless People Movement (MST)

By on 10/30/2009 in Stuffed & Starved

This urgent action just in from FIAN. Time to get scribbling.

Brazil: Increasing repression and criminalization against the Landless
People Movement (MST)

Last June 17, about 300 landless (the vast majority of them women, children and elderly) were forcibly evicted from two camps of the “Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem Terra” (MST), located on leased and private land -therefore legally occupied- in the vicinity of Fazenda Guerra, in Coqueiros do Sul, Northern region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The judiciary of Carazinho issued the eviction order after the Attorney General’s office of Rio Grande do Sul filed a complaint against MST on June 11. In this complaint, the Attorney General accuses MST of crimes against the national security and characterizes MST as a para-military organization which ought to be dismantled.

It is the first time since the end of the military dictatorship in Brazil that a systematic attempt to disarticulate and criminalize movements of social protest like MST is registered. The situation in the region is very tense. Please send letters to the President of Brazil asking him to take measures to investigate the case, to redress the families unduly evicted and to guarantee full enjoyment of the right to free association to MST. Please send copies of your letter to the Governeour of Rio Grande do Sul, to the Brazilian embassy in your country and to MST.

Background

Very early in the morning of June 17, 2008, five hundred soldiers appeared in the landless camps of Coqueiros do Sul with an eviction order issued by the judiciary of Carazinho the day before. The eviction order followed a complaint filed by the Attorney General on June 11. The landless families living in the vicinity of the Fazenda Guerra were forcibly evicted from their camps legally occupied. The judiciary did not care about where the families will stay after the eviction.

Very serious is the fact that the Attorney General’s office of Rio Grande do Sul is trying to characterize MST as a threat for national security which therefore ought to be dismantled. One of the authors of the complaint filed by the Attorney General’s office, Luis Felipe Tesheiner, summarizes the justification for the complaint as follows: “It is not about removing camps but about dismantling the grassroots MST uses to repeatedly commit crimes”. In the preliminary ruling of Justice Orlando Faccino Neto allowing the complaint filed by the Attorney General it reads: “It is just violence what is going on over there, in Coqueiros do Sul” and goes on characterizing the landless camps as “seedbeds of illicit acts which cannot be further tolerated”.

It is noteworthy that the complaint of the Attorney General’s office is allegedly based on police incidents in which MST persons living in the aforementioned camps would be involved. According to our information, though, no one of these persons have been convicted. With these allegations the Attorney General and the judiciary of Rio Grande do Sul are treating as convicted persons which have not been tried at all. Even if these persons were being tried, their innocence should be presumed until the contrary is proven. Moreover, the Attorney General’s office and the judiciary of Rio Grande do Sul do not consider land and agrarian conflicts as social conflicts at all.

Mandate of the Emergency Network:

The forced eviction committed against 300 landless families in Coqueiros do Sul by the military following a judicial ruling of the judiciary of Rio Grande do Sul violates the right to due process enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights and in the Brazilian Constitution. Additionally, the actions and decisions aforementioned violate international standards on evictions established by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in its General Comment N° 7. The forced eviction of the landless families in question represents a serious breach of the obligation of the Brazilian state to respect the right to adequate food and housing as set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Protocol of San Salvador.

Moreover, the actions and decisions of the state agencies involved in this case clearly represent an attempt to criminalize the struggle of Brazilian landless people for agrarian reform and is therefore a violation of the right to free association which hinders landless people to defend their human rights.

End of action: August 15, 2008

Addresses:

Mr Luis Inácio Lula da Silva,
President of Brazil
Palácio do Planalto – 4º Andar
70150-900 – Brasília – DF
Fax: + 55 61 3411-1222
E-mail: casacivil@planalto.gov.br

Copies to:

Ms Yeda Crusius
Governeour of Rio Grande do Sul
Palácio Piratini, Praça Marechal Deodoro s/n CEP 90010-282 – Porto
Alegre/RS
Fax: +55 51 3288-2465
Email:Gabinete-governadora@gg.rs.gov.br

Brazilian embassy in your country
MST Nacional dhmst@uol.com.br
imprensa@mst.org.br

Please inform FIAN about any response to your letters.
Translation of the proposed letter:

Dear Mr Lula da Silva,

I’d like to express my concern about the increasing repression and criminalization against MST, particularly in Rio Grande do Sul.

According to my information, last June 17, around 300 landless (the vast majority of them women, children and elderly) were forcibly evicted from two camps of the “Movimento de Trabalhadores Sem Terra” (MST), located on leased and private land -therefore legally occupied- in the vicinity of Fazenda Guerra, in Coqueiros do Sul, Northern region of the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Very early in the morning of June 17, 2008, five hundred soldiers appeared in the landless camps with an eviction order issued by the judiciary of Carazinho the day before. The order eviction order followed a complaint filed by the Attorney General on June 11. The landless families camped in the vicinity of the Fazenda Guerra were forcibly evicted from their camps legally occupied. The judiciary did not care about where the families will stay after the eviction.

Very serious is the fact that the Attorney General’s office of Rio Grande do Sul is trying to characterizes MST as a threat for national security which therefore ought to be dismantled. One of the authors of the complaint filed by the Attorney General’s office, Luis Felipe Tesheiner, summarizes the justification for the complaint as follows: “It is not about removing camps but about dismantling the grassroots MST uses to repeatedly commit crimes”. In the preliminary ruling of Justice Orlando Faccino Neto allowing the complaint filed by the Attorney General it reads: “It is just violence what is going on over there, in Coqueiros do Sul” and goes on characterizing the landless camps as “seedbeds of illicit acts which cannot be further tolerated”.

As State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to the Interamerican Convention on Human Rights and to the Protocol of San Salvador, Brazil is obliged to respect, protect and fulfill the human right to adequate food and all interrelated rights as well. Therefore I’d like to urge the Brazilian state to:

1. Investigate expeditiously the aforementioned case and to adopt all necessary measures to redress all human rights violations incurred to in this case;
2. Adopt all necessary measures to guarantee reparation to the families unduly evicted from their homes and lands;
3. Adopt all necessary measures to avoid new violations of the rights of the persons affected.

I’d like to ask you to keep me informed about the actions to be taken in order to undo the current situation of violation of rights.

Sincerely yours,

***************

V. Ex.cia Luis Inácio Lula da Silva,

M.D. Presidente do Brasil

Palácio do Planalto – 4º Andar
70150-900 – Brasília – DF

Telefone: + 55 (61) 3411-1221

E-mail: casacivil@planalto.gov.br

Excelentíssimo Senhor Luís Inácio Lula da Silva,

gostaria de manifestar enorme preocupação com a crescente repressão e criminalização do Movimento de Trabalhadores sem Terra (MST), em especial no Estado do Rio Grande do Sul.

Segundo informações obtidas, cerca de 300 sem terra (a grande maioria mulheres, crianças e idosos) foram despejados de dois acampamentos do Movimento dos Trabalhadores/as Rurais Sem Terra, localizados em terras arrendadas e próprias, ou seja, legalmente ocupadas, nas imediações da Fazenda Guerra, em Coqueiros do Sul, região Norte do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul.

Na madrugada da terça-feira (17 de junho) a Brigada Militar, com 500 soldados, apresentou a ordem de desocupação em cumprimento a uma decisão da Justiça de Carazinho que foi emitida na manhã do dia anterior, acatando uma denúncia do Ministério Público Estadual apresentada à Justiça no dia 11 de junho. As famílias de sem terra foram expulsas de seus acampamentos legalmente ocupados, sem qualquer preocupação ou determinação a Justiça no sentido de cuidar para onde deveriam ser levadas.

Mas grave todavia, é que a denúncia do Ministério Público Estadual pretendeu caracterizar o MST como uma organização paramilitar e que, por isso, precisa ser desmontada. Um dos autores da denúncia, o Promotor Luis Felipe Tesheiner, resumiu em Zero Hora de 18 de junho, a justificativa: “Não se trata de remover acampamentos, e sim de desmontar bases que o MST usa para cometer reiterados atos criminosos”. Na decisão liminar que acatou a proposta do Ministério Público, o juiz Orlando Faccini Neto, é enfático: “Ali, em Coqueiros do Sul, estão praticando violência e nada mais”, mais adiante caracteriza os acampamentos como: “sementeira de ilicitudes que, a essa altura, não há mais como tolerar”.

Como Estado parte do Pacto Internacional de Direitos Econômicos Sociais e Culturais (PIDESC), da Convenção Interamericana de Direitos Humanos e do Protocolo de São Salvador o Estado Brasileiro tem a obrigação de respeitar, proteger e promover o direito humano à alimentação adequada, bem como todos os direitos correlatos. Por esta razão, gostaria de conclamar o Estado Brasileiro a:

4. Investigar de maneira ágil as denúncias supra citadas, e adotar todas as medidas necessárias para reverter as violações de direitos identificadas;
5. Adotar todas as medidas de reparação necessárias para as famílias indevidamente desalojadas de suas casas e terras legalmente ocupadas, e em relação a violações de seus direitos civis, culturais, economicos, políticos e sociais.
6. Adotar as medidas necessárias para evitar que se volte a incorrer em novas violacões dos direitos humanos das pessoas afetadas.

Solicito que V. Ex.cia nos mantenha informados sobre as ações adotadas
no sentido de reverter tal situação inaceitável de violações de
direitos e incompatível com a posição internacional do Brasil em
relação à proteção e promoção dos Direitos Humanos,

Atenciosamente,

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