Customary Rights are Human Rights

The matter of customary rights has come under increasing international scrutiny in recent times and South Africa is no exception.

In the area of marine resource use, the protection and promotion of customary rights are vital to advancing sustainable livelihoods for traditional fishing communities.

Later this month, The Legal Resources Centre, representing small-scale fishers in the Dwesa and Cwebe areas in the Eastern Cape, will ask the Fisheries Minister to set aside the decision taken in 2000 in terms of the MLRA to make Dwesa-Cwebe a no-take MPA.

The fishers want partial access to the MPA in terms of their customary rights and based on the understanding that environmental protection and sustainable use of marine resources are vital for livelihoods.

While the matter of customary rights emerges regularly on media and other platforms, there is little detail on the subject. The article below provides insight into the subject. It examines international legislation relating to customary rights and reflects on customary systems of marine resource use and governance in South Africa.

sections on customary law and SSF (revised 5 Nov)

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