Stop the Destruction of Indigenous Homes for Foreign Tourism

Target: Rick Thomson, Director of Thomson Safaris

Goal: Stop the human rights violations against the Maasai people in Tanzania, return their lands, and compensate what has been lost in the destruction.

Tens of thousands of native Tanzanians have allegedly been illegally evicted from their homes and are now struggling to survive because of a government-supported land grab by a U.S.-based safari company. Many of the former residents’ houses have reportedly been burned to the ground and thousands of livestock have been lost, leaving many homeless and without their livelihoods. These indigenous people have been forced to flee their homes and suffer without easy access to food, water, and shelter, in an effort by the government keep the savannah open for foreign safari operations.

According to the Oakland Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, Maasai villagers in northern Tanzania near the Serengeti National Park are being evicted from their homes in droves with no warning. The Maasai are primarily shepherds and need land to graze and water their livestock. They are now forced to use nearby park land to do so, often being harassed by park rangers or fined, sometimes even if they are just near the park, not in it. The evictions allegedly came with no warning or aid from the government. Last summer, in just one village, registered legally as village land, police and park rangers allegedly burned down 185 homesteads and evicted nearly 7,000 people, and killed 2,000 livestock.

This is not the first instance of human rights violations and land grabs against these indigenous people. Previous illegal evictions have occurred in 2009, 2016, and 2017 according to the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). Thomson Safaris, a U.S.-based tourist operation, purchased the villagers’ land in Tanzania for use in tourism and since that time, the Tanzanian government has reportedly been forcibly removing people from the area and burning their homes in the name of conservation. In reality, tourism, including foreign-based safari organizations, funds a large portion of the Tanzanian government’s budget and this move is purely economical, with no apparent regard for the rights of their own citizens.

The Maasai are suffering and their livelihoods are in danger, all in the name of tourism and economic growth. Surely some compromise could be reached to balance tourism with conservation and human rights. Sign the petition to demand that the U.S.-based safari company at the center of this travesty make amends for its damaging actions.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mr. Thomson,

The Maasai people of Tanzania are reportedly being illegally evicted from their homes under the guise of conservation by the Tanzanian government in order to make way for tourism operations like yours. These indigenous people have been repeatedly denied access to food, water, shelter, and grazing land for their livestock. The victims are homeless and struggling to survive due to your actions.

The lands obtained for your safari operations were registered with the Tanzanian government as village lands. Multiple human rights organizations have been reporting illegal evictions and cruel treatment of indigenous people for years. Even if the courts have ruled in your favor that the land you purchased was legally obtained, there is a higher moral imperative. The indigenous Maasai people have allegedly been denied basic human rights by being evicted from their homes without warning, compensation, or aid. Don’t encourage the Tanzanian government’s actions by providing the economic incentive for them to continue these human rights violations. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Please do the right thing and return these lands obtained under false pretenses and compensate those who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: SamaJahn

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3 Comments

  1. PROTECT THESE PEOPLES HOME NOW.

  2. These are the true natives of Tanzania! Protecting their home should be top on your list! Not Tourism and destruction! Think hard about what to do before you take any action. I’ve signed, tweeted and posted this petition. The world will know what you’re planning on doing! I highly doubt that will help increase tourism in your country!Please do not proceed with your plan.

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