The European Parliament adopted a resolution urging Tanzania to immediately halt ongoing forcible evictions of Maasai pastoralists from their ancestral lands. The following article was published in the January-February 2024 issue of NewsNotes.
On Dec. 14, the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging Tanzania to immediately halt ongoing forcible evictions of Maasai pastoralists from their ancestral lands, a portion of which lies in the Serengeti’s Ngorongoro conservation area.
A protected region in northern Tanzania, the Serengeti comprises several game reserves and the Serengeti National Park and is home to Indigenous Maasai people. In recent years, the Maasai have been protesting their forced removal by the Tanzanian government, which plans to lease 1,500 square kilometers of the Serengeti to a safari company based in the United Arab Emirates that operates trophy hunting tours.
Tanzanian government officials have said the conservation area is becoming overpopulated with Maasai and their livestock, leading to environmental degradation. They have named concerns for “conservation” to justify forcibly evicting Maasai from their homes, restricting their access to grazing lands and confiscating their livestock. For more than a year, the government has cut public services for the Maasai in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in an ongoing attempt to force the Maasai off their land.
The EU resolution calls on the Tanzanian government to recognize and protect the rights of the Maasai in Ngorongoro, and to acknowledge the lands and resources that Maasai communities have managed for generations and their role in maintaining wildlife and biodiversity. It also calls for a review of EU’s contributions to Tanzania in its budget.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) met with a Maasai delegation hosted by European Catholic Churches in Brussels in May 2023. The MEPs were scheduled to visit Tanzania to investigate the abuses against the Maasai in September, but the Tanzanian government denied them entry. A second attempt to visit in December was canceled due to the unexpected death of one of the MEPs. French politician Michèle Rivasi died of a heart attack in Brussels on Nov. 29.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns is a member of the Maasai International Solidarity Alliance, a group of international Catholic Church actors and Maasai community organizers that is organizing the MEPs visit.
Faith in action
Sign the petition to stop of the eviction of the Maasai https://bit.ly/MaasaiLandPetition