In a recent turn of events, the European Commission has decided to revoke funding for conservation projects in Tanzania due to the mistreatment of the Maasai people. This decision comes after the Maasai community faced violent evictions from their ancestral lands to make room for conservation tourism and trophy hunting.

Initially, the European Commission had set aside €18 million for conservation efforts in both Kenya and Tanzania as part of the NaturAfrica scheme. However, in light of the ongoing human rights abuses against the Maasai people in Tanzania, the funding will now be directed solely towards projects in Kenya. Additionally, new conditions have been put in place to ensure that the human rights of Indigenous and local communities are respected.

Despite numerous court rulings declaring the evictions as illegal, Tanzanian authorities have continued to forcefully remove tens of thousands of Maasai people from their lands. Shockingly, major conservation organizations like the Frankfurt Zoological Society and WWF have remained silent on the matter, even as some of the evictions have led to the creation of new trophy hunting areas for the Dubai royal family.

Caroline Pearce, the Director of Survival International, expressed gratitude for the European Commission’s decision, attributing it to the pressure exerted by groups like the Maasai International Solidarity Alliance (MISA) and Survival. Pearce highlighted the exploitative nature of conservation practices in East Africa, where Indigenous lands are often seized to establish national parks and hunting zones for the benefit of wealthy outsiders.

This recent development underscores the importance of holding conservation organizations and governments accountable for their actions, particularly when they infringe upon the rights of Indigenous communities. The mistreatment of the Maasai people in Tanzania serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing challenges faced by Indigenous groups in the fight to protect their ancestral lands and way of life.