Second Appeal by the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories Consortium on Uvinje’s Tenure Rights
Hon. H.E Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete – President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United Republic of Tanzania. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Dr. Binilith Satano Mahenge – Minister of Environment in the Vice-president’s office. email@example.com
Hon Lazaro Samuel Nyalandu – Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Mahmoud Mgimwa – Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism. email@example.com
Hon. James Lembeli – Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Land, Environment & Natural Resources. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Allan J H Kijazi – Director General of TANAPA. email@example.com
Regional Commissioner Eng Evarist Ndikilo, P.O.Box 30080, Kibaha-Pwani. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Bahame Nyanduga – President of the National Human Rights Institution, Tanzania (hand delivered).
Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance, Plot no 8, Haki House, Luthuli Street, Box 2643, Dar Es Salaam. firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Mr. Trevor Sandwith – Director of the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme and 2014 World Parks Congress. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Maanda Ngoitiko – Executive Director of Pastoral Women Council. email@example.com
Bugnaux (Switzerland), 5th February, 2015
Ref: Soliciting response to ICCA Consortium letter regarding attempted eviction of Uvinje community of Saadani Village, Pwani, northeast Tanzania
We refer to our letter dated August 20, 2014, in which we expressed strong concerns regarding the threatened eviction of the Uvinje villagers from their ancestrally owned coastal land adjacent to the Saadani National Park. To date we have received no response to this letter.
We understand that TANAPA has not yet withdrawn its claims, nor communicated formally with Sadaani Village and its most affected sub-village, Uvinje. Further, and of profound concern, we understand that there is a possibility that a group of individuals claiming to possess relevant ‘land rights’, is imminently to be paid ‘compensation’ for rescinding such alleged rights. Under Tanzanian law, and without any specific agreement from the rightful land owners in Uvinje, this could constitute a serious abuse in process and substance that you will surely wish to avoid. Indeed, If the alleged ‘compensation’ is about to be paid, we call on your good offices to ensure that this is avoided.
For 14 years, the Uvinje villagers have tirelessly worked to bring the threatened eviction matter to the attention of the relevant authorities. In the absence of an appropriate and lawful response, we understand that they are on the verge of proceeding with litigation. This is truly unfortunate! Tanzania has been heralded by many, including our global membership, as an international leader in both the recognition of customary land rights and the practical development of mechanisms to enable communities to contribute to national conservation objectives. At the recent World Parks Congress (WPC – Sydney November 2014) discussion of the Uvinje case was prominent in a number of workshops and working groups, and many expressed the conviction that the Tanzanian Government would be able to solve the matter in line with international agreements and best practices. If this proves to be otherwise, the international disappointment will be tremendous.
The ICCA Consortium Secretariat, as well as its global membership, are tracking the matter and eagerly awaiting a positive resolution consistent with Tanzania’s own land tenure and natural resource policies that protect village land rights, as well as with international human rights obligations, CBD decisions, IUCN Resolutions and the recent WPC ‘Promise of Sydney’.
For your convenience we attach here again our original letter and list of annexes that can be found in the Internet.
We would like to solicit your urgent response and action, hoping that the participation of Tanzania in the recent World Parks Congress may have strengthened your posture on community conservation in line with the results of the Congress itself.
We look forward to your prompt reply.
Dr. M. Taghi Farvar
President , The ICCA Consortium
Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend
Global Coordinator, The ICCA Consortium
August 20, 2014 Letter from ICCA Consortium about Uvinje
Annex 4. Letter from the Bagamoyo District Commissioner to the Head of the Saadani National Park. December 1, 2006. This letter addressed to TANAPA describes the Regional Commissioner’s orders that Uvinje residents should not be moved and that their land rights should be reinstated.
Annex 6. Independent Research: Case Study Report: Uvinje Village & the Saadani National Park Tanzania, May 2014, Alejandra Orozco, Coastal Resource Analysis Lab, University of Victoria; and Environmental Evaluation For Tourism Development in the Saadani Game Reserve, February 1997, Institute of Resource Assessment, UDSM, commissioned by the Wildlife Division and the Ministry of Natural Resources & Tourism.