Tanzania pushes the Masai out of their ancestral lands by confiscating their livestock
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An update from the Oakland Institute, an American environmental think tank, says the government forcibly confiscated about 5,880 cattle and 767 goats and sheep from the Maasai in November and December last year and is demanding from owners of large fines. Those who cannot pay are forced to auction their livestock and leave.
“Livestock is central to Maasai culture and livelihood,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Auckland Institute.— “So the loss of cattle is a disaster for them. With this new tactic, the government's goal is clearly to expel them from their ancestral lands.”
The government remains adamant that the resettlement will pave the way for safari tourism and trophy hunting for lions, elephants and other famous large species, helping the country's environment and economic development. Authorities call the Maasai move “voluntary”, claiming it will improve lives semi-nomadic pastoralists.
But Mittal says the government's claims that resettlement will improve Maasai life are “outright lies.” She added that the government “continues to put tourism revenue above everything else, including life.”
The government has previously been accused of denying access to basic medical services, pastures, water sources and salt marshes to force the Maasai to leave the area.
The Ngorongoro Game Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Loliondo commune.
Last June, the Tanzanian government was accused of using violence against the Maasai people who were protesting their eviction, drawing sharp international criticism. But the Maasai failed when a regional court ruled in favor of the eviction .
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, usually based in The Gambia, is currently in Tanzania to obtain information on the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in the Loliondo and Ngorongoro regions.
Several Tanzanian human rights organizations urged the commission to be impartial and hold confidential private hearings with victims relocation and civil society organizations away from current state-sponsored efforts.
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