socio-economic rights

Courts should not give up their position as ‘last resort protection’ under COVID-19 regulations

Courts should beware of giving up their role of protecting fundamental rights during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Tim Fish Hodgson, legal advisor with the International Commission of Jurists, Africa. Interviewed online on how COVID-19 regulations were impacting on socio-economic rights wordwide, he said that in many countries, courts were no longer as willing to consider cases involving infringements of rights. They took the view that, under an emergency situation, judges 'need to defer'.

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In a new online interview, the International Commission of Jurists, Africa, legal advisor, Tim Fish Hodgson has warned of a developing trend among judges in many parts of the world under the current pandemic.

Tiny, remote Namibian clan claims world renowed Etosha National Park as ancestral land

Perhaps they didn’t realise it, but when eight members of Namibia’s Hai||om people went to court for what they claimed was their traditional land, they raised a number of other burning socio-political issues as well. The Hai||om live in a remote northern area of Namibia, overlapping the pristine Etosha National Park, environmentally sensitive and a major world tourist attraction for the country. Could the eight litigants claim the entire park as ancestral land, acting in a representative capacity for all the Hai||om people?

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The eight applicants wanted the court to agree that they could represent the minority Hai||om people. That established, they wanted to claim the entire world-famous Etosha National Park – all 23,150 sq kms of it – together with other significant tracts of land. They said this was their ancestral land, and they were being prevented from using it. Failing return of the land, they wanted compensation in land or money.

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