CAFOD has just heard from their partner, Instituto Cultivar, that 450 landless families in Quilombo Campo Grande, Minas Gerais, Brazil, are being evicted, having been under siege for more than two days from 250 Military Police. The families, who have lived and farmed the land in the area for more than 20 years are at imminent risk.
The families, who have nowhere else to go, have been reportedly told to take shelter in the nearby town of Campo Grande. This small municipality already has cases of Covid-19 and does not have the infrastructure cope with the rise in coronavirus cases that would likely result from a sudden influx of people.
Kezia Lavan, CAFOD’s Brazil Programme Officer, said: “450 landless families are at risk of police violence, Covid infection, homelessness and loss of livelihoods as a result of eviction from homes and lands they have farmed for 22 years.
“The families have bravely resisted police intimidation during a siege which has so far lasted for more than two days during which time they have seen their school bulldozed, neighbours forced out and crops burnt by police. Governor Romeu Zema should follow the Brazilian Council of Justice’s guidelines to halt all evictions during the pandemic and suspend the eviction.
“This is a tragedy for this thriving community, who in the past two decades have turned this area of once degraded pasture into a model example of agroecological farming. They have farmed in harmony with nature, growing enough food to eat and sell, including high-quality coffee.
“We cannot standby and watch while these families, who have worked so hard to build a thriving community, see it all destroyed overnight.”
CAFOD is now echoing Instituto Cultivar’s ask to the Governor of the state of Minas Gerais, Romeu Zema to suspend the eviction immediately and to follow the guidelines of the National Council of Justice that there should be no evictions during social isolation.
The charity is also echoing their call for the damage done to families crops and buildings to be repaired, and the Governor to continue the process to regularise the land title of the families.
Picture: An eviction takes place in Brazil. (CAFOD).