Stand with the Indigenous Maasai Community in Tanzania
The indigenous pastoralist communities’ ancestral lands and livelihoods are constantly under threat due to post, neo-colonial and racially prejudiced systems of natural resource exploitation, and non-participatory and oppressive conservation management paradigms. In Tanzania, the situation of Maasai indigenous community in Ngorongoro is a perfect example of land rights violations being perpetrated by the State for the benefit of the multi nationals and investors at the expense of the indigenous peoples. The privatization of land and natural resources that are critical to the well-being and survival of Maasai communities has had adverse effects leading to high levels of poverty, illiteracy and vulnerability to the effects of climate change.
Historically, the Maasai pastoralists have occupied the Serengeti Plains all the way to Ngorongoro since the 15th Century. They have constantly been forcefully evicted from their lands on multiple occasions over the years. The most recent forceful evictions in mid-2023 have been coupled with gross human rights violations to create room for a game reserve. The community members have faced numerous illegal arrests and detention with those at the frontline to defend against the illegal acquiring of their community land being the main targets. As soon as recently there were arrests of more than 30 defenders made including some of the community leaders e.g. the Member of Parliament. During this state led evictions being enforced by the security forces, women and children have become the most affected with several reports of sexual abuse, torturing, maiming and killing of the community members being reported. The authorities have made the situation worse by blocking essential services from reaching the community hence exacerbating the sorry state of the Maasai community.
In The current land conflict between the community and the government, the state has gone ahead to grab 1,500 km2 ancestral and registered village land of the Maasai in Loliondo division in Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania. It should be noted that this is the third attempt to forcefully remove pastoralists who depend on the land for their livelihood and well-being. This move led thousands of community members to protest the move to evict them from their land which only worsened the situation as the security forces and the state have been very brutal on civilians while containing these protests. Many defenders continue to become targets and most of them are either in hiding or on asylum in the neighboring countries like Kenya.
A number of law suits have emerged challenging the forceful evictions underlining the growing tensions and legal challenges faced by the Maasai communities in their quest to access justice for example:
- Thadeus Clamian & 1619 Others Vs Attorney General (East African Court of Justice/EACJ Reference No 29 of 2022): Focuses on Tanzanian Government policies denying Ngorongoro community’s access to social services. It is currently awaiting a court scheduling conference.
- Case Regarding June 2022 Violence (EACJ Reference No 37 of 2022): Concerns the military’s role in displacing Loliondo communities in June 2022, potentially violating Tanzanian laws and international human rights treaties. This matter is awaiting a court scheduling conference.
- To make donations that would assist the grassroots organization continue with their advocacy work and the collection and documentation of data, please contact us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for directions on where to channel the support.
- Volunteer and Offer Support: We call on organizations that can offer psychosocial support and security assistance to go directly to the Affected community members to contact ALLIED Coordination team at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spread Awareness: Help raise awareness about the Maasai community evictions across social media platforms, websites, and personal networks using the hashtag #StandWithMaasais. Together, we can amplify their voices and raise visibility around the evictions.
- If you have skills or expertise that can contribute to the campaign, we warmly welcome your involvement! Join our team and lend your support in social media, or legal assistance. Contact us at email@example.com explore how you can make a meaningful contribution.
Together, we can make a difference and protect the lives and culture of Indigenous Peoples. Join the Solidarity Campaign today!