We believe just society in which people are treated equally regardless of their skin color, age, ethnicity, religion, gender or economic status. We are particularly committed to promoting and defending the rights of socially disadvantaged groups and persons.
Open Technology for Development
Citizens for Justice as it continues to make strides in advocating for good governance, social accountability, and realizing the right to development, is implementing the ICT for Citizen Engagement project, using the Mzinda platform. This was developed by Mhub. CFJ in collaboration with Mhub with funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern African (OSISA) are implementing a service delivery based project. The objectives of the project include enhancing citizen participation in reporting on the delivery of essential services such as water, electricity and sanitation. Citizens can engage with city councils, service providers such as Electricity Supply cooperation of Malawi (ESCOM), Water Board and elected councillors at local level. We are airing radio programs on Zodiak Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBS) and holding community meetings and awareness raising events as part of the activities of the project the aim is to increase responsiveness from the citizens in realising their rights to development.
Child Rights in the Extractive Industries
“Child Rights and Safety in the Extractives Industry Sector in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda” is a two-year project that is being implemented by Citizens for Justice (CFJ) with funding from the OAK Foundation. On the project, CFJ partners with Foundation for Environmental Management and Advocacy Against Poverty (FEMAPO) in Tanzania, Straight Talk Foundation (STF) in Uganda, with technical support being provided by Bank Information Centre (BIC) in Washington, D.C., USA, through their regional office in Uganda. The project was launched with a Project Management Team inception meeting on the 4th and 5th November 2015 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The project has two phases. First to analyse the impact of projects in the extractives industry sector (Mining, Oil and Gas) on children’s rights in Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda and advise on specific actions to mitigate on such impacts. Second, the project will focus on enhancing the capacity of governments and non-state actors to address impacts of the extractive industry on children in line with the recommendations of United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Responsive Mining Governance
CFJ has been implementing the Responsive Mining Governance with ActionAid Malawi since October 2013 with funding from the Tilitonse Fund. We are striving to promote transparency and accountability in the mining sector for equitable and sustainable development. Our main objectives under the project are to 1) improve the collection action amongst CSOs on advocacy including through strengthening the Natural Resources Justice Network (NRJN) 2) increase technical capacity of organisations in NRJN, and 3) to increased the capacity and voice of residents, particularly women, in mining and exploration communities to help them influence decisions related to extractive sectors at the community level. CFJ currently serves as the secretariat for NRJN. Through this project, we are supporting and enhancing the NRJN platform and communication and collaboration between members, and carry out and support a number of activities each year and on an ongoing basis, including community meetings, radio and round table discussions, capacity building on specific technical issues, lobbying and advocacy on mining, oil and gas legislation and policies, holding a National Alternative Mining Indaba, and ensuring a united voice on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
For about three decades, until 1994, Malawi was under a dictatorship. During that period Malawians did not enjoy economic, social and cultural rights (ESC rights) let alone political/civil rights. Since 1994 Malawi has made progress in allowing its citizens exercise their political and civil rights but the discussion of ESC rights has been largely neglected. We believe that the pursuit of political and civil rights cannot be divorced from the satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights and will therefore advocate for the rights of all Malawians to adequate food, water, health, education, housing and cultural fulfillment.
Malawi is a state party to a number of UN human rights treaties and to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that emphasises the interdependence of human rights by recognizing that the “satisfaction of economic, social and cultural rights is a guarantee for the enjoyment of civil and political rights”. In addition, the government has expressed its commitment to reduce poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals. The right to health, water and housing is under threat as most Malawians are yet to realise let alone enjoy these rights.
Malawi’s food situation remains precarious due to a variety of factors including unreliable land tenure systems and the threat posed by the looming scramble for land by multinational corporations. The country’s customary land tenure system means that Malawian farmers have no guarantee that they will farm on the same piece of land in subsequent seasons because traditional leaders and government can demand that land at any time. Besides, the government has a lease system where corporations or people who want to farm on commercial basis can lease land for a period of 99 years subject to renewal. Corporations are now calling Africa “the green OPEC” and they are heading into the continent to start large plantations and smallholder contract farming to produce agro-fuels. In most cases this process takes away local people’s farming land, hence endangering their food sovereignty. CFJ will campaign against the squeezing out of small‐scale farmers and the undermining of local forms of food production/consumption and the expansion of corporate ownership and/or control of the entire food system. We will also inform communities on the negative impacts of bio-fuels production, GMOs and environmentally/socially harmful practices arising out of such neoliberal initiatives like the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).