Human rights abuses related to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil

 

Brazil-Confed-Cup-ProtestBrazil hosted  the 2014 FIFA World Cup and will host another major sporting event in 2016: Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. National and international media, unions, activists, human rights organizations, and other NGOs have shone a spotlight on abuses caused by the impacts of massive infrastructure projects that were carried out in preparation for the World Cup and for those that are still going to be carried out for preparation of the Olimpcs. A civil society group was created in Brazil named “The National Coalition of Local Committees for a Peoples’ World Cup and Olympics”, which brings together many "popular local committees" in the 12 Brazilian cities that hosted the World Cup football matches. It also includes Rio de Janeiro that hosted World Cup matches and will host the Olympic Games.

The government had promised that any urban construction projects involving, for instance, resettlement of communities and improvements in urban mobility (e.g. Bus Rapid Transit projects), would be conducted with citizen participation in the decision making process and transparency. It was claimed that the projects would benefit the most marginalised groups; however, the reality has been somewhat different. In recent months and years, several reports have been published and submitted to local and international authorities containing allegations of human rights abuses such as forced displacements and evictions, forced labour, discrimination, lack of consultation of affected communities, child labour, and violent repression of protesters.

Many of these allegations involve abuses committed by or with the complicity of private companies. The World Cup was and the Olympic Games will be an opportunity to push for positive change. This page features some of the main developments and coverage on human rights in Brazil related to the major sporting events, highlighting the role and responsibilities of companies operating there. We will continue to add new reports & coverage on an ongoing basis.

Latest updates

www.walkfree.org/love-football-hate-slavery - Join Walk Free call, 21 July, 2014

www.childrenwin.org - Terre des Hommes launched the project Children WIN in February 2014 to collect evidence and increase awareness on direct and indirect effects of Mega Sporting Events to mitigate risks and enhance opportunities for children, 15 July 2014

Brazil World Cup: Fifa and business miss an open goal for human rights, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, 13 July 2014

Briefing to Brazilian Presidential Candidates on Business & Human Rights, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Repórter Brasil, 5 June 2014 (document available in Portuguese).

Mary Robinson & John Ruggie open letter of behalf of Institute for Human Rights and Business to FIFA's President Sepp Blatter, 11 June 2014 

NGO & other reports and company responses

www.megasportingevents.org - A new website addressing human rights risks associated with major sporting events & emerging good practices, Institute for Human Rights and Business, 27 May 2014

"Face of Slave Labour Changing in Brazil", IPS, 30 Apr 2014

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Andrade Gutierrez to respond to the following item:

- [Portuguese] “Andrade Gutierrez enfrenta ação do MPT por acidentes de trabalho”, Agência Pública, 24 de fevereiro de 2014

- [Portuguese] Andrade Gutierrez response, 25 March 2014

"Brazilian worker electrocuted at site of World Cup stadium construction", Fox News, 8 May 2014 

"Construction halted at World Cup stadium marked by recent worker death", AP, 1 Apr 2014

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited FIFA to respond to the following items:

“2014 Public Eye Awards”, Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa (ANCOP) and Stop Corporate Impunity, 2014

- [PDF] "The IOC and FIFA have the power and the leverage to make the Olympic Games and the World Cup more ‘socially responsible’", Jordi Lesaffer, Vigeo Rating, 1 October 2013

- DOSSIER “Megaevents and Human Rights Violations in Rio”,Observatório das Metrópoles, Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia, 20 May 2013

- [Portuguese] “Os custos da Copa e a mercantilização das cidades”, Observatório das Metrópoles, 8 February 2014

- [PDF] [Portuguese] “Impactos Econômicos dos Megaeventos: Investimentos Públicos, Participação Privada e incertezas”, Observatório das Metrópoles, December 2013

FIFA response, 19 March 2013

Inclusão de 'ex-escravos' em obras da Copa em MT vira referência nacional, Olhar Copa, 11 de março de 2014

Brazilian Government accuses adidas of selling shirts linking country with sexual tourism & exploitation; company agrees to stop selling the shirts
, Reuters, 26 Feb 2014

[PDF] "The IOC and FIFA have the power and the leverage to make the Olympic Games and the World Cup more ‘socially responsible’", Jordi Lesaffer, Vigeo Rating, 1 Oct 2013

  • Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited IOC to respond to Vigeo Rating's report: [DOC] IOC response, 24 Feb 2014


4th worker dies at World Cup reformation site in Manaus
, Folha de São Paulo, 7 Feb 2014

Two construction workers die at 2014 World Cup venue in Manaus
, The Guardian (UK), 15 December 2013

FIFA accused of racism in the choice of presenters for the 2014 World Cup draw, Chicago Tribune, 2 December 2013

Deadly accident at stadium raises worry on Brazil’s World Cup aims
, The New York Times, 27 November 2013

In May 2013, the Popular Committee for the World Cup and the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, in partnership with the Observatório das Metrópoles and other organizations launched a report (summary in English; full report only in Portuguese), which examines the human rights impacts and abuses in the construction and renovation work undertaken to prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies mentioned in the report to respond. We also invited them to respond to the following two articles:

- DOSSIER “Megaevents and Human Rights Violations in Rio”,Observatório das Metrópoles, Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia, 20 May 2013

- [Portuguese] DOSSIÊ “Megaeventos e Violações dos Direitos Humanos no Rio”, Observatório das Metrópoles, Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia, 20 maio 2013

Company Responses

- BNDES response (English & Portuguese), Oct 2013

- Concessionária Porto Novo response (English & Portuguese), Oct 2013

- Consórcio Maracanã Rio 2014 response (English & Portuguese), Oct 2013

Other reports:

[PDF] "Striving for Excellence: Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights", Institute for Human Rights and Business, 1 Oct 2013

'Slave-like' labor found in Brazil airport project, AP, 27 Sep 2013 - Brazilian Labor Ministry found forced labour in the construction work of pre-World Cup expansion of Sao Paulo's international airport; OAS and the airport denied accusations of involvement in the hiring of workers.

- [Portuguese] "Fiscais flagram trabalho escravo em obra da OAS para ampliação do Aeroporto Internacional de Guarulhos", Repórter Brasil, 25 de setembro de 2013

"Brazil off-course for World Cup and Olympics – UN housing expert", Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights website, 26 April 2011 - The report addresses allegations of abuses of the right to housing related to the World Cup and Olympics.

- [Portuguese] [PDF] Copa 2014, Olimpíadas 2016 e Megaprojetos – Remoções em Curso no Brasil - Relatoria da ONU para o Direito à Moradia Adequada, abril de 2011

- "Brazil's Poor Pay World Cup Penalty", The Progressive, 17 June 2013 - refers to alleged human rights abuses associated with construction for World Cup 2014 sites, including to allegations in the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing.

[PDF] Mega-Events and Human Rights Violations in Brasil - Executive Summary, Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa, June 2012 - The report addresses alleged human rights abuses related to the preparation for the World Cup and Olympics. It also highlights the costs of the ongoing construction for the events.

- [Portuguese] [PDF] Dossiê Megaeventos e Violações de Direitos Humanos, Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa, junho de 2012

[PDF] Summary of Brazil participation in the UN Universal Periodic Review 2012 - "UPR Media Briefing Note", UN in Brazil, 25 May 2012 - recommendations to Brazil included: "To ensure that urban restructuring in advance of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics be properly regulated to prevent displacements and forced evictions and to make every effort to ensure the upcoming events will bring lasting benefits to the poorest and most marginalized urban inhabitants."
 - [Portuguese] "Revisão Periódica Universal da ONU questiona direitos humanos na preparação para Copa de 2014", UN in Brazil,25 de maio de 2012

[Portuguese] Fundo Brasil lança dois editais com show no Sesc Pinheiros, Fundo Brasil de Direitos Humanos, 18 de novembro de 2013 – The Fundo Brasil de Direitos Humanos will donate 1 million and 400,000 Brazilian Reais to human rights protection projects in Brazil. From the total, 600,000 will be destinated to projects for the defense and promotion of human rights of vulnerable groups impacted by the construction work of the World Cup and Olympics.

[Portuguese] [PDF] “Megaeventos e Violações dos Direitos Humanos no Rio de Janeiro: Dossiê do Comitê Popular da Copa e Olimpíadas do Rio de Janeiro”, Comitê Popular da Copa e Olimpíadas do Rio de Janeiro, em parceria com o Observatório das Metrópoles e outras entidades, maio de 2013 -The report examines the human rights impacts and abuses in the construction and renovation work undertaken to prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio.

[Portuguese] [PDF] Capítulo Desafio de Prevenir e Eliminar a Exploração Sexual Infantil Aumenta no Contexto da Copa e das Grandes Obras in Brasil Livre de Trabalho Infantil: contribuições para o debate sobre a eliminação das piores formas de trabalho de crianças e adolescentes, p. 33, outubro de 2013 - The report addresses human rights risks in big infrastructure projects; the chapter referred to looks at child labour in World Cup construction projects.

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