Civil society organizations launch new joint advocacy campaign "United Against Corporate Bullying"

Author: Melissa Fourie of the Centre for Environmenal Rights, Business Maverick, Published on: 31 May 2019

 

"Civil society unites against corporate censorship and bullying", 29 May 2019

Companies that have scant regard for precious environments and the communities that live in them are not afraid to adopt bullying tactics to silence their critics. Civil society organisations have recognised that standing together is essential if they are to defend the right to speak the truth, freely and in the public interest.

On the evening of 22 March 2016, two unknown men impersonating police officers arrived at the house of Sikosiphi Bazooka Rhadebe in Mbizana, Pondoland. They proceeded to shoot Rhadebe several times, leaving him dead in front of his son.

At the time, Rhadebe was the chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee, representing a Pondoland community who have been defending their land and livelihoods from a proposed titanium sand mining project at Xolobeni — a project proposed by ASX-listed Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Resources (MCR)...

In August 2017, American pipeline company Energy Transfer sued Greenpeace and Banktrack for $900-million for alleged violations of racketeering legislation. That claim was dismissed in February 2019. Since 2018, oil corporation Exxon — facing its own litigation regarding its climate liability — has lashed out by subpoenaing and suing not only environmental activists and organisations, but public officials.

Strategic lawsuits against public participation, popularly known as “SLAPP” suits, typically target civil society and community activists, journalists, whistleblowers, and everyday people who exercise their constitutional rights. SLAPPs masquerade as ordinary civil cases, but their true purpose is to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition...

As recently as April 2019, the Centre for Environmental Rights, with environmental justice organisation groundWork and international partners Human Rights Watch and Earthjustice, published a report detailing the fear and intimidation many activists in mining-affected communities deal with on a daily basis...

 

 

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Related companies: Energy Transfer Partners Mineral Commodities (MRC)