This Thursday morning (14th), four families living in quilombola territory Sítio Conceição, in Barcarena (PA), were evicted by Civil Police, Military Police and representatives of the city’s city hall, located in the northeast of the state. People, who had their homes destroyed, are now staying with friends.
According to Roberto Chipp, leader of the quilombola community of Sítio Conceição, the city government claims that the expropriation was carried out in the Pioneiro neighborhood, but this is a neighborhood neighboring the quilombola community.
“The city had the intention to arrest me, and still use a legal argument. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the confrontation, for my safety, I was helping from afar and I didn’t even do a BO at the police station because I fear for my life.”
The eviction order was issued by the 1st Federal Civil and Business Court of the District of Barcarena (PA), which accepted a request for possession of the territory made by the City Hall. (see the action of the city in the video).
understand the case
The land conflict involves a sanitation project in the municipality, which will pass through the territory with sewage from the city. The application was made on behalf of the Mayor of Barcarena, Renato Ogawa (PL) and the company Águas de São Francisco Concessionária de Saneamento SA The disputed area covers more than 3,600 m² for the installation solution of “solutions for sewage treatment”.
In 2017, the Brazilian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (ABES) ranked the city of Barcarena as the worst in the country’s sanitation index, ranking last in collection and treatment and final destination of waste and sewage produced. According to ABES, the municipality of Pará has no place for garbage disposal, only 10% of sewage is collected and nothing is treated.
In the decision issued by the 1st Federal Civil and Business Court of the District of Barcarena (PA), the judge accepts the decision saying that “the threshold measure is necessary, as the defendants invaded their property and carried out irregular constructions on the property”.
The quilombolas, in turn, allege an ancestral relationship with the territory, which is supported, even in recognitions by the Palmares Cultural Foundation, which is also published in the Official Gazette of the State of Pará.
In addition, they claim that the place has been surrounded by the city and more families will be evicted in the coming days. In all, around 200 quilombola families live in Sítio Conceição.
However, other territories will be affected by the work, since the sewage will be dumped into the Murucupi River where the communities of Burajuba, Sítio São João, among others, are located.
No evictions during the pandemic
The families had been under threat since September 27, the date on which the 1st Federal Civil and Business Court of the District of Barcarena (PA) accepted a request for possession of the territory made by the City Hall. From then on, people would have “48 hours to leave their homes”. (See another video of the action)
On January 14, Governor Helder Barbalho (MDB) sanctioned Law No. 9,212, which enforces the Federal Constitution by safeguarding the right to housing.
Thus, evictions, evictions or forced removals in private or public, urban or rural properties are suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic in the state of Pará.
In addition, the action also violates the recent decisions of the Federal Supreme Court that determined the suspension of the processing of processes that risk repossession of quilombola communities – which is part of the Fundamental Non-compliance Allegation (ADPF) 742 – and processes with orders or judicial measures for the eviction of urban and rural areas inhabited before the covid-19 pandemic, ADPF precautionary menu 828 .
The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) sent a statement to the Civil and Business Court, responsible for the eviction order, asking for its immediate revocation and the referral of the case to the Federal Court, as this is a recognized quilombola area and is in the process of being titled by the Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra).
Residents heard by the community say that both the civil and military police and inspection agents of the Secretariat of Infrastructure and Urban Development of Barcarena (SEMDUR) were violent in the action of evicting and demolishing the houses.
In addition to violating Law No. 9,212, the quilombola territory has been recognized by the Palmares Foundation since 2016 and is in the process of obtaining a title.
Recognition of the quilombola community, victim of eviction, by the government of the state of Pará. / Official Gazette/Reprodução
Also read: Pará prohibits evictions and evictions until the end of the pandemic
The other side
O Brazil in fact contacted the City Hall of Barcarena, who sent the note below (read in full)
The Municipality of Barcarena, through the Attorney General of the Municipality, informs that this Thursday morning (14) an action of imposition of possession was carried out in the Pioneiro neighborhood, in an area belonging to the Public Administration that houses a Sewage Treatment Plant .
The ETE, which will be reactivated by the current administration, is being claimed by a group of people who do not inhabit the site, so no family has been removed, since there are no houses on the land.
A masonry structure was built to block the access of city hall machines and workers to the site, but this morning the structure was removed to re-establish access to the land, ensuring the continuation of the Sewage Treatment Plant extension project, thus benefiting thousands of families, with basic sanitation, a right provided for in the Federal Constitution.
The works have already started in other areas of Barcarena and today it had the support of the courts to advance in the Pioneer area as well.
It is noteworthy that the possession of the aforementioned land by the city is fully documented, within the requirements of the law and that today’s action was in compliance with a court decision. If it is proven that the area is really quilombola, as alleged, the Court will certainly review its position and the city of Barcarena, always aligned with the guarantee of rights, will be ready to comply.
The work in question is an achievement of all the residents of the area, who will benefit from a new sewage treatment plant in the Pioneiro neighborhood, bringing more health and dignity to the local population.
Edition: Anelize Moreira