Human Rights and Civil Society: the State’s Abuse of Power

Activists’ stories of violence and surveillance

24 Mar, 19:00

Online Event

Greenpeace is a civil society organisation working towards the achievement of environmental rights and social and environmental justice in our communities across South Africa. We have recently experienced an infringement of our human rights, as a result of state action. We are looking to have a conversation that explores different experiences of the state’s abuse of power. In 2018, a High-Level Review Panel on the State Security Agency(SSA) was drafted. In 2019, a redacted version of the report was released to the public, after pressure from civil society organisations like Right 2 Know, to release the report and there was a closed parliamentary enquiry. This was further corroborated by the testimonies made at the State Capture Commission on 29 January 2021, which confirmed unlawful surveillance and unconstitutional infiltration of civil society organisations such as Greenpeace and Fees Must Fall, by the SSA.  In the past months, we’ve been faced with revelations of state-sponsored violence against students calling for free education, and an end to exclusion from institutions of higher learning due to financial constraints. This dialogue will unpack experiences and stories faced by activists and organisations in defense of our constitutional rights and will explore possible solutions to this emerging constitutional crisis. Civil society organisations have a constitutionally enshrined right to campaign. If state abuse is not addressed, space for civil society organisations to organise and to campaign will continue to shrink through unconstitutional means.