Environmental rights activists face victimisation

Source: Environmental rights activists face victimisation -Newsday Zimbabwe

ENVIRONMENTAL Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs) are being subjected to harassment, threats, and victimisation by corporates especially mining companies for flagging business practices that harm the environment.

This was said by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) which called on the media to highlight the crucial role that EHRDs play in safeguarding the environment.



Zela legal officer, Effort Dube, said EHRDs face several challenges in their line of work advocating environmental justice.

“As Zela, we urge the media to take an active role in working towards the protection of EHRDs because of how critical they are and also the coverage that they have on environmental issues,” Dube said.

“So what we have noticed in the recent years is that there has been a growing concern of EHRDs who continue to face harassment, threats, and victimisation as a result of their active participation to protect the environment.”

In 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council urged member states to take an active role in the protection of EHRDs.


Dube said EHRDs were not being recognised for their work.

“People have been defending the environment in their respective communities but they are not getting the coverage, they are not getting the support,” he said.

“In some of them they don’t even know that they are actually EHRDs because no one is coming to show their hand and no one is coming to capacitate them.


“They can be helped to get the protection that they need in the event that they face any challenges, any threats, any victimisation.

“I think at the global stage we have had some EHRDs’s who have actually been killed because of their work and also this work is very dangerous on its own because it involves the fight to protect the land.”

Dube said the media has a critical role in investigating and profiling EHRDs cases.

“So we need to be able to profile them and as Zela alone, we are not able to do that without the assistance of the media,” he said.

“Our goal is to protect the EHRDs; our  goal is to ensure that EHRDs are able to protect the environment and they are not victimised.”