Boycott Tanzania's tourism in indigenous land to stop the eviction of 167,000 Maasai

Boycott Tanzania's tourism in indigenous land to stop the eviction of 167,000 Maasai

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Maasai people of Loliondo and Ngorongoro started this petition to The Tanzanian Government and

“I call on the Government of Tanzania 1) to stop the mass evictions and human rights violations towards the Maasai of Loliondo and Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) carried out to make space for safari tourism and wildlife hunting; and 2) to satisfy the communities’ demands expressed in this petition. As a potential tourist who would like to visit Tanzania, I vow to never visit the areas where communities have been displaced, such as Serengeti, Loliondo and NCA, and to inform all my friends and family who are planning to visit about the grave crimes they would be complicit in. I call on all Travel Agencies to boycott the Tanzanian tourist industry where it benefits from dispossession and I will boycott those who remain complicit. I also call on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNESCO to publicly withdraw support and speak out against this crime perpetrated in the name of conservation.”

The Tanzanian government, with the support of UNESCO and the IUCN, are preparing to evict 167,000 Maasai (97,000 living in NCA and 70,000 in Loliondo) from their ancestral lands. In Loliondo the Tanzanian government is planning to lease the 1500sq km of Maasai land to the Otterlo Business Company (OBC), a Dubai royal trophy hunting firm. The Maasai of Loliondo have legal right to live and roam peacefully in the area and any government attempts to evict them is a violation of national law and Tanzania's international human rights’ obligations. In NCA the government is preparing to relocate 97,000 NCA residents into a small area that cannot sustain their livelihoods and cultural practices, to make space for safaris and wildlife hunting. 

The government justifies the evictions with the excuse of conservation, but it is a blatant lie. The Maasai have preserved those lands for centuries and all the evidence shows that indigenous-led conservation is the most effective approach to safeguard the global ecosystem: Indigenous people already protect 80% of global biodiversity while the tourism industry creates extreme pollution and environmental degradation, while safaris harm wildlife.

As a result of the evictions the Maasai will lose their homes, their property, their livelihood and sacred sites, causing increased poverty, malnutrition, conflict and the erosion of Maasai culture. But it is not too late to stop this! Please sign this declaration of boycott, share it on social media, tell your friends and family and help us make it viral. International pressure has stopped evictions in the past and threatening tourism revenue, which in 2019 contributed to 10% of Tanzania’s GDP, will affect the government.

Our money, our consumption, our tourism and our companies continue to be directly linked to the dispossession of indigenous people all over the world. We have therefore a responsibility to act and hold our institutions to account! We must act not only to be in solidarity with those who are being oppressed, but because Indigenous communities are our best chance to preserve the vital ecosystems that are fundamental for the survival of all of us. By standing with the Maasai we are ensuring a future for our children too.

“We would rather die for this. We are not moving. We have nowhere else to go. Losing this land will mean the extinction of our community. We have taken care of our environment and lived in harmony with other living and nonliving things. And we are not ready to lose our traditional lifestyle we have lived for times immemorial. Tourists flood our homelands in every area to see and wonder how we have been able to maintain a balance between our lives and nature. Pastoralism is compatible with conservation. Many studies have confirmed. 

Over 70% of our homelands has been taken for conservation and investment reasons. We are appealing to human rights organizations, media and other citizens who value Indigenous human rights to share our plight and put pressure on the government of Tanzania to respect the rights of its citizens, and particularly Indigenous people. We are capable of conserving and taking care of our environment more than any one, and we have demonstrated that for so long.”

- Maasai traditional leader

 

The Maasai are demanding that:

On Loliondo, 

  1. The government should desist from threatening, intimidating or relocating communities pending the determination of the East African Court of Justice. The East African Court of Justice has ordered for maintenance of the status quo. 
  2. The government, the Arusha Regional Commissioner and the District Commissioner should publicly announce the suspension of installation of the beacon in the 1500 sq.km 

On NCA,

  1. The Tanzania Government and International agencies involved in informing the new MLUM in NCA, such as UNESCO and IUCN, should desist from executing and supporting in any way the current new MLUM, the General Management Plan and related law review proposals that will inevitably result in serious  human right violations
  2. The government should abandon its secret relocation plans part of the new MLUM in NCA that have caused sustained fear among the local community and will inevitably lead to the erosion of the community’s livelihood and cultural identity
  3. The government should transparently address the claim that the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) has recently provided salt licks for livestock contaminated by toxic substances that have already caused the death of Maasai livestock. In this regard, the government should then take appropriate legal measures against anyone responsible for this dead
  4. The government should be pursuant to the law that establishes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority acting giving equal weight and importance to the three founding legal objectives: safeguard and develop the interests of the Maasai Pastoral Community, Conservation and Tourism.
  5. Given the historical records and the emerged misunderstanding between the Maasai community in one hand and the government/NCAA, UNESCO and IUCN on the other, there is a timely need to re-address claimed historical injustices against the community, including the large-scale dispossession of Maasai land, displacement of Maasai people and the eradication of their indigenous knowledge in the management of the area.
  6. The government to restore all suspended development projects including schools, heath services, water projects in NCA with no conditions.
  7. We demand for an Independent  Commission of inquiries to address the current and historical human rights injustices in the NCA and the involvement and role of Tanzania Government, UNESCO and IUCN in those violations.
  8. For both the NCA and the Loliondo the government should promote an independent study about the social, economic and environmental impacts  of the existing model of coexistence between the local ecosystem and local communities before any eviction. The study should come up with best long term strategies for both the government and local communities and be carried out by an independent team of environmental as well as human and land rights consultants.

- The Maasai Community of Loliondo and Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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