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Reshaping Rio [VIDEO]

Yaara Bou Melhem* took Dateline, Australia’s most respected international current affairs program, to Rio de Janeiro to document the impacts of the city’s preparations for these mega-events on favela residents. The story was broadcast nationwide in Australia on April 8, 2013.

Since winning the bids for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the City of Rio de Janeiro has embarked on a colossal campaign to enhance its international image. However, this has come with a high price tag for those living in Rio’s favelas, particularly their most vulnerable residents who find themselves being forcefully removed from their homes in order to make way for new highways, parking lots and a host of other public projects.

With zero participation, little warning and unfair compensation, out of sync with local legislation, residents are greeted by bulldozers tearing down the walls of their homes during the particularly brutal eviction at Largo do Tanque.

Yaara is then greeted by the city’s Housing Secretary for a tour of the much touted public housing complex of Bairro Carioca which, after Dateline’s visit, experienced flood damage due to poor implementation and planning. She also has a chance to meet the Mayor at the announcement of Parque Carioca, a public housing project being designed to house residents of Vila Autódromo. City officials have pressured residents to accept the replacement housing and have worked to undermine the legal rights residents hold to keep their houses

While the government tries to justify these removals with housing projects and empty promises of a better life, some communities are resisting the brutal force while others have little say in their outcomes. Learn more from SBS Dateline here or watch the video:

*Yaara Bou Melhem is a multi-award winning broadcast journalist recently winning medals at the New York Film Festival, Walkley Awards and UN Media Peace Awards.