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The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) is saddened by reports of human rights violations committed by rangers from Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), TAWA, and the Tanzania Forest Service in communities living near national parks and game reserves. These incidents have involved beatings, killings, harassment, forced evictions, and illegal confiscation of livestock.

The incident dated May 6, 2023, occurred in the village of Mwanavala, Mbarali District, Mbeya Region, where five people were beaten and injured by the TANAPA  rangers, three women and two men, stripped of their clothes, beaten with swords of fire and caused serious injuries in different parts of their bodies, the people are estimated to be 21 to 39 years old.  

On 30 May 2023 Dr. Anna Henga during a press conference at LHRC HQ, Kijitonyama  said, these events include beatings, killings, humiliation, expulsion from their areas, and illegal confiscation of livestock.

“Following the circulation of these reports on social media and various media outlets, the LHRC conducted a fact-finding mission to ascertain the truth behind these distressing accounts. Our fact-finding confirmed the veracity of these reports, as they were corroborated by the district authorities of Mbarali, including the District Commissioner and District Administrative Secretary.” Dr. Henga said

Dr said that upon visiting the scene and speaking to the victims of these acts of abuse and human rights violations, as well as the local authorities,  LHRC discovered that indeed the individuals were beaten, stripped, and had their belongings burned by TANAPA rangers.  Also, our officer learned from the residents of  Mwanavala that such instances of mistreatment, including illegal confiscation of livestock and killings of herders, are recurring incidents in the area.

It is important to note that as a human rights organization, LHRC does not support nor endorse the invasion of legally designated conservation areas by citizens. However, we urge the responsible conservation authorities, including TANAPA, TAWA, and the Tanzania Forest Service, to uphold the principles of human rights during the implementation of orders to remove and relocate communities who have illegally encroached upon protected areas.