Despite the global environmental crisis confronting our planet, environmental activism has become a dangerous activity. In many countries, environmental defenders are harassed, attacked or even killed for speaking out and mobilizing against projects that threaten the health and livelihood of communities.
The latest tactic is nuisance lawsuits, as a new report about South African mining communities shows. The companies that bring these baseless lawsuits—known as “Strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or SLAPPs—are not particularly concerned with winning. Rather, it’s a tactic to suppress environmental defenders’ effectiveness by intimidating them and burdening them with onerous costs of mounting a legal defense.
The South Africa report documents the targeting of community rights defenders in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northwest, and Eastern Cape provinces between 2013-2018 for expressing opposition to mining projects.
- Read full article at Newsweek.