The fifth edition of the Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) annual Rights & Remedies Course for environmental justice activists kicks off on 4 October 2021 with a theme of Women and Environmental Justice.
Women in South Africa face multiple climate-related challenges. Not only does environmental degradation and climate change disproportionately affect women, but women are also less likely to be employed in the green economy and renewable energy sector, and violence against women activists is at an all-time high.
In South Africa, women activists face ongoing gender-based violence in many forms. This impacts their ability to speak and move freely, take on leadership roles and occupy spaces safely.
This year, the Rights & Remedies Course recognises the legacy of gender-based violence in South Africa and seeks to empower 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.
“Despite the important work that activists do, it has never been more dangerous for a woman to become an environmental activist. This year our aim for the Rights & Remedies Course is to create a cohort of empowered and connected women activists and environmental leaders,” says Thobeka Gumede, Attorney in the Activist Support & Training Programme at CER.
The Rights & Remedies Class of 2021 includes activists drawn from all over South Africa who work across a diverse range of environmental issues.
The course content will build on lessons from previous years to ensure that participants finish the course with both the practical skills necessary to facilitate engagement with government and industry, as well as an introductory understanding of how to use statutory remedies and the South African environmental law framework.
“This year the course will cover topics ranging from an introduction to the Bill of Rights to skills for virtual activism and specific areas of environmental activism and law including air pollution, climate change, mining and corporate transparency,” says Matome Kapa, Programme Head – Activist Support & Training at CER.
The 2021 Rights & Remedies course will run for seven weeks from 6 October to 19 November 2021.