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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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15 more activists graduate from the virtual 2020 Environmental Rights & Remedies Course for Activists

27 November 2020 at 7:34 pm

On Friday, the Centre for Environmental Rights hosted a virtual graduation ceremony for the 15 community activists who successfully completed our 2020 Environmental Rights & Remedies Course for Activists. The ceremony was attended by CER attorneys and staff, and the keynote address delivered by internationally recognised local environmental justice activist Makoma Lekalakala, director of Earthlife Africa, recipient of the  2018 Goldman Environmental Award.

The 2020 Environmental Rights & Remedies Course for Activists commenced in September this year. Unlike previous years, COVID-19 restrictions meant that our 2020 course had to be presented online, which required CER, the participating activists and presenters to have the necessary equipment and to learn how to navigate a virtual learning space. It also required the course to be spread out over a three-month period.

15 community activists from communities affected by pollution and environmental degradation all over the country participated in the online course this year, including Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.

The course provides community activists with a wide set of practical skills, legal knowledge, and tools to enable them to demand greater compliance with environmental laws from state and corporate actors, and to hold both government and companies accountable for the degradation of their environment.

“Community activists fighting for environmental justice are some of the bravest and most committed and courageous people you will meet,” says Melissa Fourie, CER Executive Director. “They often work alone, with very few resources, and face hardship and risk just to confront and address what they see as injustice being inflicted upon their communities and the environment. For CER, this course and our ongoing support for the graduates is one small way in which we can support the struggles of local activists pushing back against and standing up to destructive industries in their communities.”

Now in its 4th year, the Centre has already trained more than 50 activists in the period of four years, and continue to support these activists through advice and peer learning.

We congratulate the 2020 graduates, and look forward to walking the hard journey with them as they contribute to a better and healthy environment in their communities.

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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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Contact the National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours) or one of the national and provincial hotlines.