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The dangers of defending environmental justice in South Africa

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In 2016, at least 200 people were killed for defending against environmentally destructive projects in at least 24 countries, a vast increase from the previous year. Being a woman is especially dangerous, too.

In South Africa, defenders of environmental justice and social and political change are increasingly threatened, ridiculed, marginalised and punished. There have been many situations in the struggle against coal mining and other intrusive development in rural areas that have resulted in threats, intimidation and even death.

The article tells the story of women that experienced threats because of fighting for their own rights and against environmental destruction. One of them is Nonhle Mbuthuma, spokesperson for the Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC). She has spent more than ten years defending her community’s land rights on the Pondoland Wild Coast against an international mining company. Nonhle's life is constantly at risk as her name is on a hit list that already caused the the death of a fellow activist.

 

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