Brazil: Suape Port Complex is investigated for militia training, forced eviction & damage to homes
The Governador Eraldo Gueiros-Suape Industrial Port Complex is a 13,500-hectare mega-project whose main partner is the government of Pernambuco and is home to more than 100 national and international companies (to see which companies are part of the complex, click here). The Suape Forum, a group of human rights and academic organizations that support affected communities, Conectas Human Rights, Both Ends and other civil society groups have filed complaints at the national level, such as those presented before the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, and also at the international arena (UN and OECD). They denounced the various violations of human rights that have occurred since the beginning of its construction in 1978. The port was built on lands of traditional communities, such as fishermen and quilombos (runaway slaves), who had lived in the region for years. Suape Forum claims that about 25,000 people lived in these lands and many were evicted, often forced and with violence. Repórter Brasil says below: "…Today, there are fewer than 7,000 and they are all treated like trespassers inside the traditional territory...”. The Human Rights and Business Group of the São Paulo Law School of the Getulio Vargas Foundation will launch a report on Suape and human rights violations in December 2017. During all these years, various civil society groups have denounced the serious socio-environmental and human rights violations related to the construction and operation of Suape such as militia training, forced eviction, damage to homes, restrictions on land use, threats to communities and to their culture and livelyhood. In addition, “the Pernambuco State Environment Agency, responsible for environmental licensing, issued 26 notices of infraction against the Suape Complex between 2010 and 2014 for environmental irregularities – 17 were fines. Between 2008 and 2010, the federal environmental watchdog Ibama applied fines totaling nearly R$2 million…” (Repórter Brasil). See below the serious report by Repórter Brasil which includes comments from Suape, Suape Energia, Rota do Atlântico Concessionaire, Liserve, Diagonal, and Van Oord.
To read this story in Portuguese, click here.
To read an older story about the case when the Centre invited Suape to respond, please, read here.
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Brazil: Suape Port Complex is investigated for militia training, forced eviction, damage to homes and restrictions on land use; Suape, Van Oord & other companies comment
Author: Thais Lazzeri, Repórter Brasil (Brazil)
"The crooked paths of Suape-Residents of traditional communities in Pernambuco denounce the government-run industrial complex for human rights violations, such as threats and evictions; accusations reach the UN", 28 November 2017
...Residents who resist tell of serious violations, including threats – sometimes with...guns – made by employees of the complex...[:]...restrictions on access to the land, unauthorized charges and demolitions without warrants...[T]raditional communities...filed complaints against Suape to the Federal Prosecutor's Office. "The state of Pernambuco, through the Suape company, is currently the leading violator of human rights in the country," said Heitor Scalambrini,...coordinator of the Suape Forum. Since it violates the UN Sustainable Development Goals, civil society organizations have chosen Suape as a symbolic case... "...[T]he communities did not participate in the decision-making and there was no transparency in the resettlement...," said...Flavia Scabin, coordinator of the Research Group on Business and Human Rights at the Foundation Getulio Vargas...[F]amilies have also been prevented from rebuilding their own houses or from making renovations by the company's security guards, which the population calls a militia...Vera Lúcia Melo,...a leader of the Engenho Ilha community, entered the People Protection Program after she received threats...[W]itnesses claim that security guards were working together with employees from the...government...and...armed military...Two companies are responsible for surveillance...TKS Segurança and Liserve...[and]...have 260 men...Suape said...it condemns "the use of violence against the native families in the region",...its employees do not carry weapons...and...demolitions only occur after agreements...in court. Liserve is also named in one of the police reports...[,]...denied the charges...and informed...[it]...supervise[s]...the 170 guards of TKS Segurança...[T]he Liserve lawyer admitted...the employees photograph...houses of "trespassers" or...of residents who put extensions on their houses...Rota do Atlântico Concessionaire...manages the roads leading to the quilombo...[and]...charges tolls from some residents who should all be exempt from this charge...[and] said...it fully complies with the conditions established by the Pernambuco state government. Suape informed that "it is engaged in dialogue with the authorities involved in order to adjust its provisions to the reality of the region"...Suape Energia...told us that "properties occupied by a single family in the area around the project are the responsibility" of Suape...Suape Forum lawyer Luisa Duque said community leaders are now being criminalized...More than 80 families were removed from the island to make way for progress...[and]...accuse Suape and...company Diagonal − Transformação de Territórios...of lying or omitting information...In...one family...the matriarchs returned to the island and...committed suicide... Suape said it is unaware of...such complaint and that Diagonal-Ceplan "has no authority to make promises on behalf of Suape". Diagonal...informed that "the company did not make 'promises' but...advised the community..."...Four institutions – two national and the two international organizations Conectas and Both Ends – denounced Suape and the Dutch company Van Oord,...contracted to dredge the port, to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)... Van Oord informed..."the parties...are engaged in a mediation process...subject to confidentiality."...Unesco...signed a R$1.3 million international technical cooperation agreement with Suape and the state government...[and]...said that the technical support "does not involve any direct action of Unesco in the day-to-day management of Suape"...
[It refers to Atlântico Sul, Atradius Dutch State Business, Energética Suape II S/A and Promar]