AMERICA/BRAZIL - Denunciation of the violence perpetrated by the police against Venezuelan immigrants and humanitarian workers

Saturday, 20 March 2021 emigration   violence   human rights  


Pacaraima (Agenzia Fides) - On March 17, agents of the Federal Police and the Civil Police of the State of Roraima carried out an operation in Pacaraima, a town on the border between Brazil and Venezuela, entering homes without a warrant and evicting more than 70 people, including 21 women, including those who were pregnant and 40 immigrant children, who were staying at Maison Saint Joseph, a reception center managed by the Sisters of Saint Joseph and by the Migrant Ministry of the Diocese of Roraima, as well as by the Church of the Assembly of God of Aguas Vivas. Officials and operators present were also brought to the police station and their phones confiscated.
Following this serious fact, 121 social and ecclesial organizations published a note in which they demand "justice and dignity, and to put an end to violence", asking the competent authorities to intervene "to prevent such acts from being repeated or that new and very serious violations of the rights of migrants and humanitarian operators are confirmed".
The note denounces that what humanitarian operators and reception centers are doing does not constitute a crime but an act of humanity "to help human beings in situations of high vulnerability and obvious need for shelter. Welcoming and helping those who suffer from hunger, poverty and serious violations of rights constitutes an act of humanity". Calling on the public authorities to assume their responsibilities in this sector, the signatories stress that operations of this kind cause "great fear among the immigrant population and among the refugees who, terrified, end up no longer accessing essential services".
Social and ecclesial organizations denounce "with indignation the repeated attacks against the rights of the immigrant population", persecuted by the security organizations of the State of Roraima, located on the border with Venezuela, recalling that "the migratory act can never be defined as illegal, but a universal human right". At the same time, they argue that "social and humanitarian assistance provided to irregular immigrants by civil society organizations is also not illegal", which should lead to respect for the activities of civil society organizations and humanitarian workers. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 20/3/2021)