Press Releases


Tanzania Independence Day (December 9)

Maasai are being displaced again

On the occasion of Tanzania Independence Day (December 9), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) would like to draw attention to the ongoing human rights violations in the country: “For the people of Tanzania, colonialism is not over yet. They are still trying to come to terms with the symptoms of colonialism, which just don’t seem to subside,” explained Christoph Hahn, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, in Göttingen on Monday. “The German colonial period marks the beginning of a long history of displacements of the indigenous Maasai. Their involuntary odyssey continued under the British colonial reign. Now, the government of Tanzania, which should represent the Maasai, is about to displace them once again – in favor of a misunderstood nature conservation effort and a tourist hunting area.” 

The government of Tanzania is planning to expel around 150,000 Maasai from the surrounding region of the famous Serengeti National Park. The British colonial administration had already driven them out of the region to establish the National Park – partly to areas that they are now supposed to leave again. The German Federal Government is indirectly involved in the expulsion campaign, via its project partners. This is not only to be seen as a human rights violation, but also as a violation of Tanzanian law: “Last year, the East African Court of Justice had already ruled against the Maasai in a case concerning land disputes in the surrounding areas of the Serengeti National Park,“ Hahn reported. “However, the Court of Appeals recently overturned this ruling and referred the case back to the East African Court of Justice. After months of tireless commitment to their homeland, this is a great success and a ray of hope for the Maasai and their legal representatives.”

One of the legal representatives of the Maasai before the Court of Appeals is Joseph Oleshangay, lawyer and winner of Weimar Human Rights Prize 2023. In the course of his visit to Germany from December 8 to 16, Oleshangay will speak at information events, before and after the award ceremony on December 10, focusing on the topic of human rights violations against the Maasai. The STP will publish a detailed report in a few days.