Last Tuesday (21) the National Council of Justice (CNJ) approved a resolution that institutes the National Policy for Attention to Homeless People. Based on the diagnosis that the access of this population to the judiciary is hampered by racial and class discrimination, the new rule determines that the courts create specific structures to serve this public.
Multidisciplinary teams with specific training on the subject; the possibility of service without prior appointment; the prohibition of the interdiction of people for criteria such as personal hygiene or lack of identification; and a place to store objects and pets are some of the measures that the new norm institutes for Organs judiciary.
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In addition, children may be received on the premises of legal bodies even if they are not accompanied by those responsible. The resolution also establishes that itinerant services be created to serve this population segment also on the streets.
“The resolution is expressed in the sense that being on the streets can no longer be used as grounds for provisional detention”, stresses the Federal Public Defender, Renan Sotto Mayor, for whom the resolution represents “a paradigm shift”.
The defender also exemplifies how human rights defenders and legal practitioners will be able to use the resolution to act against the arbitrary removal of babies from homeless women. “Often in the maternity ward, instead of seeking care, a job to check the housing issue, what we see is compulsory removal from custody of this mother”, she reports.
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“Guards at the doors to keep out”
“When the homeless population makes a mistake, the judiciary is very fast and efficient. But when it needs justice, there are several barriers of prejudice. They put guards at the doors to prevent people from even entering”, diagnoses Leonildo Monteiro Filho, coordinator of the National Movement of the Homeless Population (MNPR).
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In Leonildo’s view, the situation is aggravated by the lack of training of legal professionals. “Most people who work in the Judiciary have no knowledge of this population,” he attests.
This population has only grown in recent years. A recent study by the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) pointed out that the number of homeless people in Brazil increased by 140% from 2012 to 2020. In March of last year there were already 222,000.
Leonildo Filho highlights that civil society organizations have been calling for measures to guarantee access to justice by this segment for years. “At last they listened to us,” he says, characterizing the new resolution as an “achievement.”
Based on pressure from civil society, the production of the text was determined by the president of the CNJ and the Federal Supreme Court (STF), Minister Luiz Fux. Formed in March, the working group that drafted the new standard was composed of representatives from the judiciary and civil society.
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Alderon Costa, from Associação Rede Rua, assesses that, given the historic impossibility of access to justice, the new CNJ resolution enters the bulge of “important movements” that have been taking place in recent years, of which he highlights the implementation of state Public Defenders and of the Union.
“It’s on paper,” says Alderon about the National Policy for Attention to Homeless People. “Here comes the great challenge of implantation”, he ponders, but stresses that, if implemented, “it will be a revolution”.
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“I think it’s a giant door that opens”, characterizes Costa: “It’s going to need an effort from the whole society so that these doors are not only effective, but remain open”.
Edition: Vivian Virissimo