A few days before the end of his term, the president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) sentence project known as Father Julius Law Lancellottiwhich prohibits the installation of materials and structures or the construction of urban interventions that hinder the presence of homeless people in public places. O veto was quickly overridden by Congress and, finally, Brazil has a law that establishes the promotion of welcoming and inclusive measures as a general guideline for urban policy.
The veto exposed, once again, the indifference of the Federal Executive regarding the adoption of public policies aimed at the homeless population. Since May 2022, it has been processed in the Supremo Tribunal Federal action against the state’s omission regarding the unconstitutional state of affairs with regard to this population (ADPF 976). One of the measures requested in this action is the judicial determination that the State lato sensu does not tolerate the adoption of the hostile architecture in realizing the fundamental right to sustainable cities.
Those who presented arguments against the now approved law highlighted that the expression “hostile construction techniques” is imprecise, which would generate legal uncertainty. However, any tired citizen, who tries to recline on a bench in the public square, inclined in a vertiginous way, will soon realize the feeling of discomfort that the furniture provokes and will understand, beyond any reasonable doubt, what a hostile urban equipment is. .
Iron chairs on which you cannot rest, nor can you move from place to place; sharp artifacts that prevent overnight stay under the improvised accommodation of a viaduct; intermittent drops of water, deliberately spurted from re-used vases on the marquees that serve as shelter; extracting sockets from subway and bus stations to prevent people from recharging their electronic anklets; and diffusion of atonal music in subway stations to avoid the long stay of the street population are examples of hostile urban management.
Paradoxically, squares, sidewalks, beaches, gaps under overpasses, among other goods for common use by the people, are not places for those who have nowhere to live. O Annoyance with the occupation of public spaces by homeless people reflects the view that it is a population that needs to be forgotten or separated into invisible ghettos and far from social life, as a punishment. In the balance of Brazilian inequality, the presidential veto conformed to the hygienist public policy which, based on the use of subterfuge and legal silence, still varnishes Brazilian urban planning.
The State has to welcome homeless people —and create housing alternatives, treatment in loco and the adoption of new life projects, wherever they may be—, not expel them, harass them, torture them, banish them. it, exile it, banish it from the city. This reception duty is constitutional and also international, foreseen in several documents, including the ONU in Agenda 2030.
O live on the streets, occupying spaces for survival, is an instant of citizenship that remains of those who lost access to the rights that ensure the existential minimum. It is unacceptable to create physical barriers and institutional violence to remove, from the eyes of society, who we need to recognize, kindly welcome and confer rights.
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