The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), through the Chairperson of the African Commission’s Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africa, is following the ongoing eviction of the Maasai community in the Loliondo division of the Ngorongoro district of the United Republic of Tanzania.
The Commission is in receipt of reports that since 8 June 2022, the police has been using force to uproot the Maasai from their ancestral land in the Loliondo division of the Ngorongoro district. The reported use of force is also alleged to have led to the injury of at least 31 people; an act which is strongly condemned by the Commission.
The African Commission is gravely concerned that the forcibly uprooting of the affected communities entails grave danger to various rights of the members of the communities, including their rights to: life, bodily integrity, freedom of association, property, culture, family, existence and natural resources.
The Commission wishes to recall that it sent a letter of urgent appeal in February 2022 to H.E. President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, which drew Her Excellency’s attention, among others, to the human rights requirements that evictions are only carried out as a last resort after all alternatives to eviction have been explored, and that all evictions comply with international and regional standards.
The African Commission wishes to remind the United Republic of Tanzania that the African Commission held in its decision in Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group (on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council) v. Kenya, that, not only should the members of affected community be fully consulted, but also their consent should be sought and obtained.
In the light of the foregoing, the African Commission requests the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania:
1) To halt the ongoing forcible eviction of the affected Maasai community in the Loliondo Division of Ngorongoro District, Arusha Region, and east of the Serengeti National Park, from their ancestral lands;
2) To urgently open independent investigations into the violence occasioned since the start of the ongoing forcible eviction of the affected communities and ensure full and effective reparations to address the harm suffered by victims, on any loss of property;
3) To reinstate and provide the necessary support for the rehabilitation of the communities forcibly evicted;
4) To reopen the plan for the establishment of the conservation area for full consultation, participation and review by the affected communities; and
5) To ensure that any measures for the implementation of the conservation area is carried out in full collaboration with and participation of the affected communities, including with guarantees for secure access to and use of resources on the affected territory by the members of the community.
Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso,
Chairperson of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities and Minorities in Africa