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Protecting lives in Brazil

Brazil Programme / Partner story

Photo: © Camila / ONG Meu Recife

Between 2015 and 2019, Oak’s Joint Brazil Programme supported organisations working on a range of issues related to human and socio-environmental rights and right to the city in the metropolitan region of Recife, Brazil. This included organisations addressing the negative impact of large infrastructure projects.

Just 40 km from Recife, the capital of Brazil’s north-eastern state of Pernambuco, lies 13,500 hectares of some of the most beautiful Brazilian coastline. Home to around 25,000 locals, the area is also occupied by the Suape Industrial Port Complex (CIPS) – a mega harbour expansion project. The Suape Port is considered one of the most important ports in Brazil, functioning as a hub-port and host to more than 100 industries.  However, since the instalment of CIPS, communities in the area have lived in constant fear, faced severe human rights violations, a rising level in violence and have seen an unprecedented rise in forced evictions and environmental destruction such as contamination of water sources and destruction of crops.

Forum Suape – Social and Environmental Space (Forum Suape) is an organisation composed of civil society actors, which advocates for the environmental and human rights interests of the communities directly affected by CIPS. Forum Suape aims to discuss the current issues being experienced by people around the port complex and proposes and implements initiatives to help build a more just and inclusive society.

Forum Suape has been instrumental in shaping local response to CIPS violations. Some of Forum Suape’s initiatives include: providing weekly legal assistance to local leaders and communities; appointing field workers to register and follow up on claims of human rights violations, forced evictions or environmental contaminations; and beginning long term strategic planning. Forum Suape has also recently released a booklet on human and environmental rights aimed at local communities to help them understand the issues, collect evidence of abuses and register to defend themselves.

To find out more about the work of Forum Suape, visit its website.