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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Overview

The Centre for Environmental Rights is a non-profit organisation and law clinic based in Cape Town, South Africa. We are activist lawyers who help communities and civil society organisations in South Africa realise our Constitutional right to a healthy environment by advocating and litigating for environmental justice.

Our history

The Centre was established in October 2009 by eight non-profit civil society organisations in South Africa’s environmental and environmental justice sector to provide legal and related support to environmental public interest organisations, community organisations and communities. We opened our doors in April 2010.

Our vision

We seek a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

Our mission

The Centre for Environmental Rights defends the right of communities and civil society organisations to an environment not harmful to health or wellbeing for present and future generations. By advocating and litigating for environmental justice, we seek to advance our vision of a just, equitable, compassionate society which is resilient, celebrates diversity, and respects the inter-dependence between people and the environment.

Our values

In light of the irrefutable relationship between the protection of the environment and the realisation of other human rights, the Centre for Environmental Rights is committed to defending the right of communities and civil society organisations to an environment not harmful to health or wellbeing for present and future generations.

In the context of South Africa’s history of profound injustice, we strive to shift dominant exclusionary structures, narratives, and practices in our engagements within the organisation, with clients, communities, partners, funders, service providers, government, and industry, in the pursuit of environmental justice.

We work with passion, integrity, courage, and humility, striving to be innovative, collaborative, and dedicated to excellence. We are responsive to, and work to empower and build agency in each other, our clients, and our partners. We continuously reflect on our work, and our impacts.

Our work environment is an inclusive and empathetic space, in which we check our assumptions about each other, and are conscious in our language and behaviour. We commit to having honest and courageous conversations, adapting our behaviour where necessary, in order to realise diversity, inclusion, and transformation.