In Newsweek, Marcos Orellana of Human Rights Watch describes how companies worldwide are bringing baseless lawsuits against environmental activists. As Orellana describes, the purpose of this tactic is “to suppress environmental defenders’ effectiveness by intimidating them and burdening them with onerous costs of mounting a legal defense.” This is part of a global trend occurring in the United States, South Africa, France, Australia, and many other parts of the world.
In April 2019, Human Rights Watch published a report on attacks against activists in South Africa’s mining areas. The report documents violence and threats against activists who challenge mining projects in South Africa. The use of abusive SLAPP lawsuits is one intimidation tactic that is being used.