Indigenous Venezuelans live in unsanitary conditions in a disused shelter and fear running out of food in Boa Vista | Roraima

Indigenous Venezuelans live in unsanitary conditions in a disused shelter and fear running out of food in Boa Vista | Roraima
Indigenous Venezuelans live in unsanitary conditions in a disused shelter and fear running out of food in Boa Vista | Roraima

The fear of not having enough to eat occurs because Operation Acolhida, an action by the federal government that has been assisting migrants and refugees who have entered Brazil since 2018, has announced that it will stop providing food on site as of September 3.

The gym functioned as a shelter and catered exclusively to indigenous Venezuelan migrants. However, in March of this year, people living in the space were transferred to a new shelter – except for families who decided to continue living in the place that officially ceased to be a shelter and is now classified as spontaneous occupation of public space.

With the resistance of the families in not leaving the gym, Acolhida continued to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner, but from the next 3rd this routine will change and this has worried the indigenous people who live there.

To g1, one of the residents of the space, Yurkeini Isenni Rattia, 31, told that the migrants need help with food and that, other than that, they sell cans, copper and things they find on the streets to support themselves.

“We want food, lots of food. There are children who have special needs, there are also elderly people and there are many pregnant women,” she said.

In space, families live both inside the gym and in wooden shacks and improvised camps outside. The inspection carried out by the surveillance pointed out that the place is unhealthy, although the migrants claim that they take turns to keep it clean.

“Many people are living in this space, many people are staying and collaborating every day so that they don’t get rubbish, dirty. If you look here, you’ll see that there are cans, copper and things from the street that we go, look for and sell. out of necessity, we look for a way to support ourselves,” explained Yurkeini.

2 of 8 Venezuelan migrant Yurkeini Isenni Rattia. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Venezuelan migrant Yurkeini Isenni Rattia. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

The Venezuelan indigenous leader, Eulígio Baez, said the residents had set up a team to keep the place clean. However, they need materials to perform the service.

“We created a group of men and women to do the cleaning. But we need gloves and cleaning materials to improve the situation”, he explained.

The leader also said that, on the day of the inspection, the Health Surveillance did not consult the leaders. “Health surveillance arrived here without consulting the leaders, but we are trying to live with dignity, as a human being should live”.

3 of 8 Site was inspected by the Health Surveillance. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Site was inspected by the Health Surveillance. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

According to Yurkeini, some families are able to support themselves with government aid, but others depend on donations.

“I got it through Bolsa Família, because I have a son studying, but there are other people who are working on the street, [dinheiro] and help, and some institutions also help”.

Sought, Operação Acolhida reported that in November 2021, it started a process of restructuring the indigenous shelters, with the consultation and voluntary transfer of about 1,200 migrants, from the Tancredo Neves, Nova Canaã and Pintolândia shelters to the Waraotuma a Tuaranoko shelter, located in the neighborhood Treze de Setembro (read the full note below).

4 out of 8 Migrants cook food on a makeshift stove. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Migrants cook food on a makeshift stove. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

According to the Task Force, “the new shelter meets international humanitarian standards for shelter and sanitation, in addition to greater community space and better living conditions.”

Migrant Yurkeini said that, despite the difficulties, they feel freer living in the gym.

“We want them to help us, but we don’t want the military of Acolhida, we don’t want to be enslaved anymore. [a operação] worked here in this space, there was a lot of mistreatment of all indigenous people, they forced us, it was as if we were enslaved. But, we are now free, one family doesn’t argue with the other or anything,” he said.

  • Defender identifies ‘corner of shame’ to punish Venezuelan indigenous people in shelter
  • Indigenous Venezuelans accuse Operation Acolhida and UNHCR of threatening to cut food if they do not change shelter: ‘humiliating’

5 of 8 Children playing in the old shelter, in the Pintolândia neighborhood, West Zone of Boa Vista — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Children playing in the old shelter, in the Pintolândia neighborhood, West Zone of Boa Vista — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Now, another major concern of migrants is feeding their children. The occupation is home to 170 children and, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), 39 children under five are at nutritional risk.

“We want food, lots of food. There are children who have special needs, there are also elderly people and there are many pregnant women,” said Yurkeini.

The migrant Arsenio Cardona, 33, has lived in Roraima for just over three years and says that his greatest need is food. He lives in the former shelter with his 24-year-old wife and three children, ages 7, 4 and 2.

“Now what we need is a good situation, because our greatest need is with the food issue. What we are going through now is a very serious thing”, he said.

6 of 8 Arsenio Cardona with his wife, Rosneri Baez, and their children. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Arsenio Cardona with his wife, Rosneri Baez, and their children. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Operation Acolhida reported that it has been providing meals to the Venezuelan indigenous people, but due to the unsanitary conditions of the occupation, it will transfer the supply to the Waraotuma shelter to Tuaranoko. The action takes effect on the 3rd of September.

In a note sent to g1, the Public Ministry of Roraima informed that it has been following the case and will continue to monitor the situation of the indigenous people. The report also tried to contact the Federal Public Ministry and is awaiting a return.

“The Gaemi-DH (Special Action Group on Minorities and Human Rights) will continue to monitor the situation of the indigenous people, in partnership with Operação Acolhida, in order to resolve the issue, prioritizing human dignity as a priority,” he said.

7 out of 8 Family sleeps in accommodation, inside the old shelter. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Family sleeps in a dorm, inside the old shelter. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

An inspection, carried out by the Health Surveillance, pointed out that 170 children are living in an undignified way and in extreme precariousness, without any type of adequate infrastructure”, in spontaneous occupation. The inspection was carried out on July 14 of this year.

The inspection identified improvised accommodations, with a lot of dirt, with signs of infestation by pests and flies, cockroaches and pigeons. The g1 report went to the place and found children playing near the animals’ feces, in the bleachers of the gymnasium.

8 of 8 Children play near bleachers with animal feces. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

Children play near bleachers with animal feces. — Photo: Yara Ramalho/g1 RR

In addition, the surveillance reported that it located human feces, food scraps, lunchboxes and disposable diapers scattered on the floor of the place. They also reported that there is no health care for migrants in the occupation.

Unhealthy condition causes Operação Acolhida to transfer the supply of meals from the former Pintolândia Indigenous Shelter to the Waraotuma Shelter in Tuaranoko.

The Humanitarian Logistics Task Force – Operation Acolhida informs that, as of September 3, 2022, the delivery of meals (coffee, lunch and dinner) to people in the spontaneous occupation of Pintolândia (Ginásio Poliesportivo Ottomar de Souza Pinto) will be transferred to the facilities of the Shelter Waraotuma to Tuaranoko.

In November 2021, the Task Force began a process of restructuring the indigenous shelters, with the consultation and voluntary transfer of about 1,200 migrants, from the Tancredo Neves, Nova Canaã and Pintolândia shelters to the Waraotuma a Tuaranoko shelter, with a capacity of 1,500 beneficiaries. The new shelter meets international humanitarian standards for shelter and sanitation, as well as greater community space and better living conditions.

It is noteworthy that the action of the Task Force is based on legality, legitimacy and respect for human rights, never condone with any type of violence. Thus, only those who wished to go to the new location were transferred to the Waraotuma to Tuaronoko shelter.

After the conclusion of the consultation and dialogue process with local leaders, of the 1,200 indigenous migrants planned for the transfer, about 200 people from the Pintolândia shelter decided to remain in that place, even though they were aware that Ginásio would no longer be a shelter, becoming an occupation spontaneous. Thus, in June of this year, Operação Acolhida and the Government of the State of Roraima carried out the cancellation of the non-onerous assignment of use of the Pintolândia space, and, as a result, the protection, security, housing and health services were terminated.

However, in order to alleviate the situation of the remaining indigenous families in Pintolândia, the Humanitarian Logistics Task Force continued to deliver, daily and individually, breakfast, lunch and dinner to about 200 people. Likewise, some partner agencies and civil society volunteers continued to provide basic support to that indigenous community.

On July 15, 2022, the State Sanitary Surveillance informed the Task Force that the spontaneous occupation of the Ottomar de Souza Pinto Sports Gymnasium “does not present adequate conditions of habitability, hygiene and cleanliness, nor the necessary salubrity compatible with human dignity. recommended in article 1, item III, of the 1988 Constitution” (Report nº 5562674-SEI/GRR, p. 2).

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Indigenous Venezuelans live unsanitary conditions disused shelter fear running food Boa Vista Roraima

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