In a groundbreaking move, the European Parliament has condemned evictions of Indigenous Maasai communities under the guise of conservation. It also stressed that Indigenous rights are a non-negotiable prerequisite for any conservation initiative.
The resolution, passed with resounding support today, comes after attempts to evict the Maasai people from Tanzania’s world-famous Serengeti ecosystem.
Violence and arbitrary arrests of community leaders have made headlines since last year. Tanzanian authorities continue to pressure the Maasai to leave their land in Loliondo and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where they have lived for generations. The government has also prevented independent investigations.
The Maasai have called the attempts to steal their land a “catastrophe”, and called on European governments and conservation organizations to end support for this model of conservation.
Fiore Longo, head of Survival International’s Decolonize Conservation campaign, said today: “This resolution states clearly what we in Survival have been saying for many years: human rights abuses in the name of conservation must stop now. It also affirms that the Maasai evictions are not just a Tanzanian problem, they are a European problem too. Similar violations are happening all around the world, funded by European tax payers' money and with the support of big conservation organizations, based in our countries, who keep promoting a racist and colonialist model of conservation.”
Notes to the editors:
This decision of the European Parliament comes just a day before Maasai-lawyer and activist Joseph Oleshangay will lead a protest in front of the Frankfurt Zoological Society (ZFS) in Frankfurt, Germany. FZS, whom the Maasai have called their "number one enemy", supports the fortress conservation model in the Serengeti ecosystem.