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CER condemns State Security Agency spying on civil society organisations

10 March 2019 at 6:31 pm

The Centre for Environmental Rights condemns in the strongest terms the “active monitoring” undertaken by the State Security Agency (SSA) of civil society organisations, as reported in the December 2018 Report of the High-Level Review Panel on the SSA released by the Presidency over the weekend.

“While many civil society organisations now take standard precautionary measures to protect our organisations, our work and our staff from all forms and sources of surveillance and attack, it is chilling to see official confirmation of the use of state resources to spy on and interfere in the work of civil society organisations,” says Melissa Fourie, Executive Director of the Centre for Environmental Rights. “It is important to remember that the organisations named in the SSA report work in the public interest to promote Constitutional democratic objectives like free speech, open democracy, a healthy environment and a safe climate. These Constitutional values and rights should be objectives shared by and actively realised by the state. The SSA report suggests that state machinery was used to undermine Constitutional principles so fundamental to our democracy.”

Next month, the Centre for Environmental Rights, groundWork, Earthjustice and Human Rights Watch will publish a report on the threats faced by environmental rights defenders in South Africa from both the state and corporates.

For queries, contact CER Executive Director Melissa Fourie on mfourie@cer.org.za or CER Deputy Director Wandisa Phama on wphama@cer.org.za.

ENDS

Section 24 of 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.

Report a Violation

National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

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