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Sandile Biyela

HRD & Member

Sandile Biyela was an active member of the Solomon Mahlangu branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo. Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers across South Africa, including Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and the Western Cape. The movement advocates for the rights of people living in shacks including access to decent housing, services and education through participatory democracy. The movement uses a number of methods to promote the rights of shack dwellers and the homeless, including through peaceful land occupations and protests.

South Africa

The Republic of South Africa voted for the adoption of the resolution on the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18th 2015. Nevertheless, HRDs face threats, intimidation, harassment, and physical attacks, sometimes resulting in death, by private individuals and members of the police force. In rural areas, where job opportunities are scarce and economic prospects low, mining and extractive projects are seen as viable economic opportunities. Human rights defenders who raise concerns about loss of indigenous lands and environmental destruction in face of these projects are violently targeted. In September 2007 South Africa signed on to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples adopted by the General Assembly. However, indigenous HRDs or those who are working on these issues have been killed, threatened, physically attacked and alienated from their communities.