Standing with Activists: We Can’t Breathe

By Natural Justice

We are a social and environmental justice organisation standing with communities across Africa. We stand with communities against human rights abuses, and we stand with them against the destruction of nature. We stand against oppression based on culture, sexual-orientation and gender. We stand against racial oppression and the brutality of police officials against George Floyd, Collins Khosa and countless others.

We condemn the actions of the police, but also of the people in positions of power who continue to allow the brutality without accountability. We further condemn the oppressive nature of governments and corporations across the world who use force against communities. We condemn the deaths of thousands of indigenous people and activists, as well as ordinary people, like those who have died due to repression and police brutality during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

At the heart of environmental justice is justice in all its forms. The destruction of nature, the planetary crisis and climate change will affect the poor and vulnerable disproportionately.  These include the poor communities of Africa, where we work, and those of indigenous and local communities throughout the world. Therefore, by standing for their environmental rights, we stand for all their rights. Together with this, we need to address ongoing inequality and poverty if we are to address injustices and oppression. 

For centuries, the oppression of people of colour has been incessant and intolerable. It cannot continue. The death of even one African American brings up pain for a community. The death of any person of colour under an oppressive regime brings up pain for many others living under the same oppression, some of it economic and based on inequality.

We stand in solidarity with the people of the United States of America and South Africa who are experiencing collective pain right now and who are protesting against continued black oppression.

We support the right to protest in all its forms. We support Defenders in defending their rights and territories. Therefore, we condemn the closing down of peaceful protest and civil society space and freedoms in the United States of America and elsewhere.

Together, let us stand against all forms of oppression, even while we focus on the specific issues of police and military oppression. No person experiencing injustice can be free until they are free from all forms of inequality and oppression: economic, cultural, racial and environmental.  

#BlackLivesMatter | #WeCantBreathe

3 June 2020

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