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Civic Rights

SALC engages in litigation and advocacy to protect civil and political rights.

Through this work, SALC aims to contribute to the following strategic objectives:

Legal reforms to ensure freedom of expression, association and assembly:

  • Reform of laws relating to assemblies, associations, media, and cybercrimes, to ensure their compliance with regional and international human rights standards.
  • Repeal of the offences of criminal defamation, defamation/insult of the President or public officers, sedition, spreading false news.
  • Removal of stigmatising and marginalising laws including those criminalising consensual same-sex sexual acts, and outdated mental health laws.
  • Advocacy against the use of national security or public morality arguments to prevent the exercise of the rights to expression, assembly and association.
  • Advocacy for the implementation of laws which promote access to information and data protection.
  • Improved public participation in the law-making process and increased space for civil society input in the development of laws, including those relating to NGO regulation, assemblies, cybercrimes, media, hate speech, access to information and data protection.

Promotion of an enabling environment for human rights defenders:

  • Protect human rights defenders and journalists from attacks, surveillance and hate speech.
  • Prosecution of persons who violate the rights of human rights defenders.
  • Provide support to human rights defenders and journalists who are persecuted.
  • Promote press freedom, by promoting self-regulation of the media and the removal of onerous licensing and fee requirements for journalists, including foreign journalists, bloggers and social media users.
  • Ensuring the rights to association, assembly and expression are vigorously and equally protected during election periods.
Freedom of Expression, Assembly and AssociationNewsSOGIE RightsSouth Africa


On 22 September 2020, the Constitutional Court will hear the case of Jonathan Dubula Qwelane v South African Human Rights Commission and Another (case no: 13/20). The Constitutional Court will decide whether section 10 of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (PEPUDA) is…
Staff Writer
21 Sep 2020
Freedom of Expression, Assembly and AssociationNewsSOGIE RightsSouth Africa

Hate speech and LGBTI rights: perspectives from the Jon Qwelane case

Mail & Guardian By Atilla Kisla South Africa’s obligation to prohibit hate speech under international law extends to hate speech against LGBTI persons. In Jonathan Dubula Qwelane v South African Human Rights Commission, the Constitutional Court has to decide whether the hate speech provision is constitutional. On 22 September 2020,…
Staff Writer
19 Sep 2020
Freedom of Expression, Assembly and AssociationNewsRule of LawZimbabwe


We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations and individuals note with grave concern the decision of the Zimbabwean Magistrates Court to disqualify Beatrice Mtetwa from continuing as defence legal counsel for journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who is currently being tried on charges of inciting public violence. The Magistrates’ Court also ordered the Prosecutor…
Staff Writer
24 Aug 2020
Freedom of Expression, Assembly and AssociationNewsZimbabwe

SALC statement on arrest of Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) is deeply concerned about the clampdown on expression and peaceful assembly in Zimbabwe following the arrests of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume We are concerned by the arrest of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who has been at the forefront of…
Staff Writer
27 Jul 2020
Freedom of Expression, Assembly and AssociationNewsZambia

Joint Statement: Zambia: Authorities escalate attacks on dissent by denying youth leaders right to protest

Zambian authorities have escalated their attacks on dissent by thwarting a planned anti-corruption protest leading to organisers streaming their protest from the outskirts of Lusaka. According to a coalition of civil society organizations, Zambian authorities are escalating their attacks and intolerance for the rights to freedom of expression and freedom…
Staff Writer
24 Jun 2020