San Jose, February 18 2016.- Father Xavier Plassat, Coordinator for the Land Pastoral Commission's campaign against slave labor, and Beatriz Affonso, the Brazil Program Director for CEJIL, provided information at a press conference yesterday about today's hearing on the case of the workers of the Brazil Verde Estate vs. Brazil (Caso Trabalhadores Fazenda Brasil Verde vs. Brasil) that will take place at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I-A Court), making this the first time the regional tribunal will decide on a case having to do with slave labor.
During the press conference, participants noted that, while Brazil had implemented measures to end slave labor, they were far from sufficient and impunity remains as the biggest obstacle to solving the problem. "Of the 2,250 employers found using slave labor, none of them have served time in prison for this crime," said Beatriz Affonso.
Father Plassat provided an analysis of the situation in the country that extended beyond the Brazil Verde's particular, highlighting how other workers in Brazil suffer by living through situations of forced labor. These situations, said Father Plassat, resulted in a " denial of the dignity and freedom of the person." He underscored the degrading conditions that victims of this practice suffer, with work days that last from dawn to dusk, poor health, lack of food and water, among other dehumanzin conditions. "They are treated worse than animals-animals at least give them water-these people are treated as things," he said.
Today, Thursday February 18 at 9am (Costa Rica Time), the public hearing for the case will begin. You can follow it live through the Inter-American Court's website . The hearing will conclude on Friday 19th with the final arguments of both parties.
Additionally, during yesterday's press conference, participants shared a fact sheet with more information about the case. You can access the documente here.(spanish only)