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Orders Government to Target Emissions, Uphold Right to Healthy Environment

On March 18 a South African court issued a landmark judgment declaring that Mpumalanga province’s unsafe level of air pollution is in breach of residents’ section 24(a) constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and…
Smoke stacks at a coal plant
News

Investigate Fikile Ntshangase’s Murder and Hold Killers Responsible

One year ago Fikile Ntshangase, an environmental activist from South Africa, was gunned down in her home in Somkhele in KwaZulu-Natal province, after raising concerns about a coal mine in the area. No arrests have been made. Today, members of her…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
News

Environmental Groups Hope Case Will Force Government Action on Emissions

When you approach the town of Secunda in the coal-rich province of Mpumalanga in eastern South Africa, the toxic smell of air emanating from the cluster of coal-fired power stations hits you long-before before you see the town. I spent last week in…
Fence line communities near Duvha Power Station, Mpumalanga, South Africa. 
News

Government Should Protect Refugees, Not Send People Back to Dangerous Conditions

The Kenyan government has again issued an ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide a plan and timeline for closing the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Though the government has issued these demands before, its…
Photo: An aerial picture shows a section of the Hagadera camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border, May 8, 2015.
News

Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
News

On Human Rights Day, End Abuses Against Asylum Seekers

Today the world marks the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and South Africa commemorates Human Rights Day, in remembrance of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, when apartheid police killed 69 people protesting…
A woman waves a South African flag as she attends Freedom Day celebrations in Kwa-Thema Township, near Johannesburg
News

Activists Opposing these Plans have Faced Threats and Harassment

Environmental activists in Kenya scored a unique victory last week. On June 26, the National Environmental Tribunal revoked a license issued to Amu Power Company to establish a controversial coal-fired power plant in Lamu. …
Environmental activists and petitioners listen to a tribunal ruling over the construction of a coal-fired power plant, at the supreme court building in Nairobi, Kenya
News

Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
News

Crucial Step in South Africa’s Path to Justice and Equality

Today, South Africa launched its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination, marking an important step towards addressing the widespread human rights abuses arising from xenophobic and gender-based violence and…
A South African flag waves above Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
News

Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
News

South Africa’s Solution Needs to be Rooted in Respect for the Right to Water

Cape Town, South Africa has been plunged into a water crisis, and in about two months – a date known as Day Zero – the city will run out of water, and supplies to most suburbs will be cut off. Rationing will begin at 200 places across the city with…
Residents walk past a leaking communal tap in Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, South Africa, December 12, 2017.
News

UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
News

Kenya’s High Court Overturns Government Bid to Send Somali Refugees Back Home

Early this morning, Somali friends in Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp that’s home to more than 300,000 people, were celebrating the selection of Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” as the new president of Somalia. Residents in Dadaab have been waiting…
An aerial view shows makeshift shelters at the Dagahaley camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya. Photo taken April 2011.
News

Limiting Extension to Six Months Prolongs Confusion, Suffering

This year, widespread attention has focussed on Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, which the Kenyan government threatened to close by late November. But on Wednesday, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for interior announced that the closure will be delayed…
Photo: Refugees stand outside their tent at the Ifo Extension refugee camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya, October 19, 2011.
News
Kenya is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which provides shelter to 360,000 mostly Somali refugees. In May 2016, Kenya’s government disbanded its department responsible for refugees and announced plans to repatriate Somalis and close…
An aerial view shows makeshift shelters at the Dagahaley camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya. Photo taken April 2011.
News
Blaming refugees for everything from economic woes to terrorism is becoming a sinister global trend. Now Kenya, home to almost 600,000 refugees – two thirds from Somalia – seems ready to join the bandwagon of European states…
Newly-arrived refugees run away from a cloud of dust at the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, near Kenya's border with Somalia in Garissa County, Kenya, July 16, 2011.
News
Today, on Earth Day, six grassroots environmental activists awarded this year’s prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize will be honored during a ceremony in Washington, DC. One of the six Goldman Prize recipients is Kenya’s Phyllis Omido, who stood up to…
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