Brazil: Recent analyses & allegations of business and human rights violations related to the Rio Olympics

Brazil Vila Autodromo Olympic Park_credit_Julia Neiva

The Centre has gathered articles with recent analyses and allegations of business and human rights violations related to the upcoming Rio Olympics. To read this in Portuguese, click here.

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Author: Marcelo Justo, BBC Mundo

"Río 2016: ¿por qué las multinacionales patrocinadoras de las Olimpiadas no pagan impuestos?", 17 Aug 2016

Detrás del gran espectáculo de las Olimpiadas de Río hay un polémico arreglo que no muchos conocen: la ley 12780, en vigencia desde el 1 de enero de 2013. Gracias a la misma, hace más de dos años que Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Visa y el resto de los patrocinadores corporativos de Río 2016 no pagan un centavo de impuestos por sus actividades vinculadas a la realización de los juegos. Y la exención -que abarca también contribuciones sociales y aranceles de importación "en actividades propias y directamente vinculadas a la organización o realización de los eventos"- regirá hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2017. Lo que significa que en momentos en que la economía brasileña está en recesión, el gobierno implementa un programa de austeridad fiscal y hay 37 millones de personas en extrema pobreza, la hacienda local perderá US$1.000 millones de ingresos...

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Article
2 August 2016

Brazil: Residents allege they were under siege in their homes due to military police action to promote “pacification” for the Olympics

Author: Gizele Martins, community journalist from the Complexo da Maré favelas/RioonWatch

“Residents Under Siege: Police Enter with Guns Blazing in Maré Favelas for Three Consecutive Days”, 30 July 2016

We are suffering from police invasions across three consecutive days in some Maré favelas,…Rio…Since…July 29…[morning]…, residents have heard shots all day long and have been unable to come and go from their home…During the day I had to dive to the ground several times in my home to avoid being hit by…bullets that kill,…that prevent us from living and moving through the city. For yet another day classes were canceled for some schools in the Maré favelas. Innumerable children without class, innumerable people unable to go to work, many businesses closed…Why are the favelas always massacred in the name of a mega-event? Why do we have to pay with our lives for an event put on for a rich minority of the population?...

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Article
29 July 2016

Brazil: Rio Olympics will allegedly fail meet commitments to clean water; fishermen suffer with contamination

Author: Mario Osava, IPS

“No Medals for Sanitation at Rio Olympics”, 27 July 2016

...The opportunity...to...clean up of Rio’s emblematic Guanabara bay and its lagoons has been lost...[which]...was part of the proposal which won the city the right to host the 2016 Summer Olympics...[O]nly half the Brazilian population has access to piped water, and only a small proportion...is treated...[The]...Jacarepaguá lagoon...[has]...not...been adequately treated...Most of the...athletes and spectators...will arrive...at Antonio Carlos Jobim international airport...Planes touch down here on the edge of one of the most polluted parts of Guanabara bay...The airport...is close to canals  taking untreated effluent and rubbish from millions of people...Fundão canal...is full of raw sewage and bad smells in spite of recent dredging,...it is still connected to the polluted Cunha canal. Five rivers converge in the Cunha canal after crossing…populated areas including…“favelas”…and industrial zones…Pollution of the…[Guanabara]…bay is exacerbated by oil spills. There is a refinery and petrochemical hub on…[its]...banks…;…crisscrossed by pipes carrying crude oil, refinery subproducts and natural gas…“…[F]isherfolk are the ones who suffer most from the consequences of pollution…; but we are not listened to, we are…threatened with extinction,” said Souza dos Santos…

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Article
27 July 2016

Commentary: Brazil fails to avoid largescale corruption, forced removals & abandoned promises characterising previous Olympic hosts

Author: David Goldblatt’s The Games: A Global History of the Olympics is published by Macmillan/The Guardian

“Rio 2016 buildup part of the chaotic and corrupt tradition of Olympic hosts-Preparations have often been a mess but Rio’s buildup may be the most disorderly yet – and no matter how special the Games a disaster of unprecedented proportions will have already happened”, 26 July 2016

...Rio has avoided expensive iconic architecture...set to produce fewer and less expensive white elephants than the leaders in this field, Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008)...[But]...has not...avoid[ed]... large scale corruption and forced removals...[H]istorical comparisons are kind...[T]he Porto Marvilha redevelopment of the city’s historic dock district is...home to the media village and a...technical-operations centre...enough for the programme to acquire the urgency of Olympic projects and a gigantic public–private partnership...[T]he planning and governance of the city’s largest ever development...[was handed]...to a consortium of three private construction companies...Rio...has...allow[ed]...the construction of an even more profitable residential complex around the new Olympic golf course...[A]t least is not giving us the bother of having to wait a few years before we know whether its legacies have been successful or not, because so many of the most socially useful Olympic investments promised...have already been abandoned...[T]he rapid bus transit system and perhaps the metro are permanent legacies...[but]...primarily designed to ferry rich people between rich areas. The...majority of the city’s population in...Zona Norte...will barely benefit at all...[A]s the toxic state of Guanabara Bay...makes clear, the city’s plan to renovate its sewage systems, especially in the poor areas, has been completed abandoned...

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Article
26 July 2016

Brazil: Agência Pública says residents evicted for Olympics are receiving unauthorized charges from Banco do Brasil regarding their housing program; includes company comments

Author: Jessica Mota, Agência Pública/RioonWatch (Brazil)

“City Breaks Agreement, Leaving Residents Evicted for Olympics in Debt”, 26 July 2016

Residents of the West Zone resettled through the Minha Casa Minha Vida...federal housing program are receiving unauthorized charges from Banco do Brasil, generating insecurity and fear; some are getting a bad credit record with the SPC Brasil credit bureau. When they were forcibly removed due to the construction of the TransOlímpica Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line...[considered one of the legacies of the Olympic Games in Brazil]..., the former residents of Rua Ipadu, São Sebastião and Vila União de Curicica–favelas in Rio de Janeiros’ West Zone–did not have many options...The Consortium Via Rio, composed of CCR, Odebrecht and Invepar manage the project...[,]...responsible for registering families to be removed, demolishing houses and relocating the residents...[Residents]...reported...: after more than a year living there, to this day they do not have copies of contracts for the apartments...Banco do Brasil...[said]...: “We fulfilled all our obligations to date and await the public entity to rectify the situation.”...After “understandings” between the Banco do Brasil and the public agency...“the issue is being looked into so that the transfers are made.”...

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Article
25 July 2016

Brazil: Civil society alleges Olympics Media will stay in apartments built with slave labour on slave burial ground & environmentally protected area

Author: Daniel Gross, RioOnWatch

“Olympics Media to Stay in Apartments Built with Slave Labor on Slave Burial Ground”, 17 July 2016.

Apartment blocks that will house journalists during the 2016 Olympic Games were built using “labor in conditions analogous to slavery,” and...erected on a slave burial ground on land claimed by...[ Quilombo do Camorim]..., a community of descendants of runaway slaves...,...near...Olympic venues in...Rio de Janeiro...founded in the 19th century...The construction project by real estate developer Cyrela is initially intended to house international journalists during the Games...and is the source of a series of controversies, including people working in “conditions analogous to slavery,” building on land claimed by the Quilombo do Camorim community, on a mass slave grave and in an environmentally protected area; and the removal of over 1,000 native trees and community facilities,...affecting the area’s water supply. Residents strongly resisted the construction of the apartment complex and are currently campaigning for a community center to be built on an adjacente...land which was donated by Cyrela to the municipal government. The community center would...provide a recreational area...[and]...help preserve the area’s rich environmental and historical heritage passed on by Afro-Brazilians...Cyrela has claimed that it had all the necessary licenses for the construction...

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