Center for justice governance and Environmental Action is an environmental/ human rights lobby organisation based in Mombasa Kenya working for the realization of environmental/Human rights of the economically marginalized communities around extractive industries. C.J.G.E.A is a grassroots Nonprofit, Non-governmental organization, founded out of a need to address environmental challenges, caused by exctractive industries surrounding informal settlements. However with the challenges, grew a need to address human rights, policy change and environmental governance Issues.
Over the past 5 years The Center for Justice Governance & Environmental Action (CJGEA) and partners, have successfully implemented the project entitled “Tuna Sauti” which has been central in amplifying the voices of the Owino Uhuru community in Mombasa to advocate for and access to clean healthy and sustainable environment and socio economic justice.
CJGEA has applied a Human Rights Based Approach to Environment protection in communities affected by the Extractive Industries in Kenya, drawing synergies of awareness on climate change, mitigation and carbon Emissions. The case of Owino Uhuru is one of injustices inflicted on a voiceless community by investors driven by greed to disregard basic human rights in their quest to make super normal profits. The (Pb) lead smelters have over time have conducted their business with no regard to the health of their staff and the community living around the area and have continued to wantonly release hazardous emissions into the environment.
“Tuna Sauti” project has enabled us, to penetrate and scrutinize the key processes and systems of government, which are key for the realization of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This is as enshrined in Article 69 and 70 of the constitution of Kenya and other regional and international instruments.
We have recorded major milestones with the Senate Committee on Health visiting the affected communities. Also after we highlighted the magnitude of the effects of environment pollution to the Owino Uhuru community, key government agencies like the Center For Disease Control and the Ministry of Health moved in to conduct a prevalence study of children’s blood lead and environment lead samples, to ascertain the effect of the lead smelter to the myriad of health complications afflicting the community members. This report should be out in March 2015 and will be a game changer to our work.
Environment Human Rights is a fairly new concept both In Kenya and Internationally. CJGEA is privileged to be among the pioneers of this concept. It remains factual that there are close linkages between the environment and the enjoyment of human rights, that justify an integrated approach to environment and human rights. Extractive Industry in Kenya for instance, is a powerful method of growing the economy, however if the sector is mismanaged, and exploitation precedes carelessness, natural resource extraction is accompanied by corruption, inequality and human rights violations it leads to irreparable environmental damage which poisons the sources of livelihoods and health of people for generations. This is best depicted in the case of the Owino Uhuru community.
If the environment is not protected the first casualty of the repercussions becomes those that depend directly on the environment for habitat and livelihoods e.g. water. There are three main dimensions of the inter-relationship between human rights and environment protection:
The environment as a pre-requisite for the enjoyment of human rights (implying that human rights obligations of States should include the duty to ensure the level of environment protection necessary to allow the full exercise of protected rights);
Certain human rights, especially access to information, participation in decision-making, and access to justice in environment matters, as essential to good environment decision-making (implying that human rights must be implemented in order to ensure environment protection);
The right to a safe, healthy and ecologically balanced environment as a human right in itself (this approach has been debated).
It is therefore a great opportunity that CJGEA has to ensure responsible involvement through our programmes. It therefore becomes vital that CJGEA can count on all stakeholders involved at all community levels to work in concerted effort to create change by ensuring the protection of these rights.
Center for Justice Governance and Environmental Action was founded in 2009 in response to challenges facing communities residing around Extractive Industries in Kenyan Coastal region. It is registered as Non profit Organization and its operations are guided by its constitution. Overseen by its Board of Governors drawn from the civil Society in Kenya and internationally.