Masifundise is partnering with the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) and The Green Connection in preparation for setting up a high-level tribunal to investigate human rights infringements in small-scale fisheries.

The Tribunal will address the growth of extractive developments encroaching on natural resources and the livelihoods of those who depend on the environment.

This tribunal will assist small-scale fishing communities in safeguarding and protecting their human rights ensuring that government does not exceed its scope of power to the detriment of small-scale fishers.

During the SSF National Strategic Forum, a key strategic question that was reflected on was: how do we empower ourselves to advance our struggle for the recognition and realisation of small-scale fishing communities’ human rights?

It is in this context that an SSF people’s tribunal becomes a tool used to assess the state of recognition and realisation of the human rights to food, livelihoods and traditional and customary rights of South Africa’s small-scale fishing communities.

The objective of the SSF People’s Tribunal will be to open ‘community review’ of the efficacy of policy, policy implementation, rights allocation and SSF rights management processes, and to assess the legality of the threats affecting fishers’ lives.

The process of the SSF People’s tribunal will consist of members of fishing communities documenting and presenting testimonies in front of a high-level court, composed by key public legal figures who have had some exposure and engagement with SSF communities at local, national and international level.  

Their verdict will recommend areas of improvement related to the above so that the objectives of the SA Bill of Rights, Constitution and related United Nations level instruments are met for SSF communities nationally.

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