Tanzania: Report says safari businesses complicit in intimidation, violent eviction & intimidation of indigenous Maasai; companies comments included
A new report by the Oakland Institute claims some safari businesses operating in Tanzania are complicity in human rights abuses against the Maasai indigenous community. These include intimidation, arrests, beatings and starvation. Thomson Safari denies these accusations. Ortello says the area needs greater ecological protection because herds are increasing while water sources are drying up due to climate change.
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Author: Oakland Institute
"Losing the Serengeti: The Maasai land that was to run forever"
Author: Oakland Institute
"The True Costs of Safari Tourism: Foreign Companies Devastate Tanzania's Maasai in the Name of Conservation"
The indigenous Maasai people of Tanzania face appalling levels of human rights abuses, including intimidation, violent evictions, arrests, beatings, and starvation, by the Tanzanian government and some of the safari businesses that operate in the country, the Oakland Institute said today in a new report.
The report specifically exposes the devastating impact of two foreign companies on the lives and livelihoods of the Maasai villagers in the Loliondo area of the Ngorongoro District—Tanzania Conservation Ltd (TCL), a safari business operated by the owners of Boston-based high-end safari outfitter Thomson Safaris; and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), which runs hunting excursions for the country’s royal family and their guests.
According to local villagers, TCL has made their lives impossible by denying them access to water and land and cooperating with local police who have beaten and arrested the Maasai. Meanwhile, for 25 years, the OBC had an exclusive hunting license, during which time there were several violent evictions of the Maasai, many homes were burnt, and thousands of rare animals were killed. Although Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources cancelled OBC’s license last year, the OBC remains active in the area, while the local villagers live in fear.
Author: Jonathan Watts, The Guardian (UK)
"Maasai herders driven off land to make way for luxury safaris, report says"
The Tanzanian government is putting foreign safari companies ahead of Maasai herding communities as environmental tensions grow on the fringes of the Serengeti national park, according to a new investigation...The Maasai Land that was to Run Forever uses previously unpublished correspondence, official documents, court testimonies and first-person testimony to examine the impact of two firms: ThomsonSafaris based in the United States, and Otterlo Business Corporation based in the United Arab Emirates. It says Thomson’s sister company, Tanzania Conservation Limited, is in a court battle with three Maasai villages over the ownership of 12,617 acres (5,106 hectares) of land in Loliondo which the company uses for safaris...
Thomson strongly denies these accusations. It says Tanzania Conservation Limited employs 100% Maasai staff, allows cattle on the property to access seasonal water, and works with local communities and the government to conserve the savannah, improve access to water and formulate a sustainable grazing policy. The company blames past conflicts on NGO activists who they say stirred up villagers and led to staff being assaulted by young warriors armed with clubs, spears, knives and poison arrows. “These interventions have been played out to attract attention, provide stories, and to disrupt the working relationship between company and communities on the ground,” Rick Thomson, a director of Tanzania Conservation, wrote in an email to the Guardian. “In these events the endangered staff have a protocol of disengaging any way they can to avoid escalation, and reporting to the authorities any situation where any people and property, are physically threatened. These situations have been rare and no such events have occurred for the last four years.” He said the company was not connected to government evictions of illegal residents in the national park, which is reserved for wildlife.