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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Defining Moments of 2019: Our 3rd Environmental Rights & Remedies School for Activists

3 December 2019 at 10:17 am

The Centre for Environmental Rights’ annual Environmental Rights & Remedies Course for environmental justice activists is a key component of CER’s activist support and training work. Developed from a demand from our community partners for rights training and building on existing initiatives like groundWork’s Environmental Justice School, the Rights & Remedies Course empowers participants from rural and urban areas who bear the environmental and socio-economic brunt of polluting industries operating close to their homes and places of work.

In September 2019, the Centre for Environmental Rights commenced its third annual Rights & Remedies Course. The 15 participants who joined the 2019 school were selected based on criteria that included their active involvement in defending the right to a healthy environment for their communities.  From Limpopo, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Gauteng, this year’s participants hailed from civil society organisations such as the Ekurhuleni Environmental Organisation, the Women of Change Organisation, and the Mfolozi Community Environmental Organisation.

The challenging two-week course equips participants with knowledge, practical skills and tools – including legal remedies – required to assert and defend their environmental rights. The course prepares activists to act as focal points for environmental rights and remedies information in their respective communities. During the course, each participant selects a pressing issue in their community which they will be tackling, using the remedies learnt at the course, with support and guidance from CER attorneys who have been appointed as their mentors.

“The CER course has given me a chance to learn about the law. A lifetime weapon that I was afraid to grab, but after learning and growing I realise that I have nothing to be afraid of! The training taught me to open my eyes and ears even wider than before. I can now interrogate the legal and government system.  The certificate means a lot to me and the Khuthala Environmental Care Group and Khuthala Women’s Movement,” says Nelly Nkosi from Ermelo.

“The Rights and Remedies course has empowered me and sharpened my knowledge on how to apply the law when I want to hold companies accountable for not complying with the regulations. Now I have a better understanding of which tools to apply and which government departments to engage. I have a better appreciation for the guidance the Constitution gives us as activists,” says Zanele Msibi.

The 4th Environmental Rights & Remedies School for Activists will take place in September 2020. A call for applications will be issued in the first quarter of 2020.

Other links: Rights and Remedies course – activating activists

Our Environmental Rights & Remedies Course is supported by the Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust.

Should you wish to contribute to the important work of the Centre for Environmental Rights with a donation, whether once-off or monthly, please visit our Support Us page for details.