Articulação Recife de Luta
Made up of 34 civil society organizations, among which are collectives, community associations, social movements, unions, professional entities, and researchers, the goal of the articulation (of which CPDH is a member) is to advocate for public participation in the revision of Recife's 2018 master plan. Among the many complaints regarding the process, Recife de Luta has brought up the approval of a time frame of less than 4 months for the entire revision. The whole process is irregular, as it doesn't provide the required time or opportunity for effective public participation. The schedule did not result from an open discussion, nor was the methodology approved in the Concidades plenary session. As a matter of fact, hearings were held previously and confidentially. Besides, the City Guard was brutally violent in the RPA4 hearing, which participants were prohibited from entering. After we brought a lawsuit to the Public Ministry, the institution went to court demanding that the revision be annulled due to the lack of actual public participation, and opened an inquiry into the mayor to ascertain malpractice.
Cais José Estelita
The José Estelita Pier is of great historical value and strategic location within Recife. Two thirds of the land plot were sold in an illegal auction to a group of construction firms called “Consórcio Novo Recife” (Consortium New Recife), whose goal is to build a luxury building complex with 13 towers up to 40 floors. The case drew international attention because of the resistance of hundreds of activists that have been struggling so that the local population has the right to decide what will be done with the area.
We started to follow the case at the end of 2013, when group Direitos Urbanos (Urban Rights) required our legal advice for certain matters regarding the project. From then on, it became part of our agenda, and we also took on the demands presented by Movimento Ocupe Estelita (Occupy Estelita Movement). We offered support in meetings in which we would go over the legal aspects of the process, and also in public demonstrations so we could secure the activists' right to protest. Also, we filed legal cases and sought out to the Public Ministry and to the Public Attorney's Office (Defensoria Pública).
Protecting Historical Heritage
Recife's historical heritage has been under constant attack. Over the past years, numerous ancient constructions have been destroyed and replaced with modern buildings, in spite of the technical opinion of public institutions who determined their preservation, which has caused a stir among citizens. As a result, group Direitos Urbanos | Recife asked us to write a series of lawsuits in order to preserve some of the properties that were vulnerable to land grabbing but that had their historical value recognized by technical opinions.
We were able to get four preliminary injunctions out of the four appeals we made, so we kept the properties safe for some time. However, when it comes to the Caiçara building and traditional bakery Padaria Capela, the owners managed to get an authorization to demolish the properties. So far we haven't reached a final decision regarding the collective moral damages case we filed due to the damages on the city's culture, memory and history. As for the cases of Clube Líbano and the house at 296 Visconde de Goiana Street, on the other hand, the constructions are still standing, thanks to court decisions and despite the appeals of the public power and the companies who own the properties.