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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing

10.3.2015 - (2015/2604(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Charles Tannock, Mark Demesmaeker, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Ruža Tomašić, Jana Žitňanská on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0242/2015

Proċedura : 2015/2604(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Tanzania, notably the issue of land grabbing


The European Parliament,

–    having regard to its resolution of 15 September 2011 on famine in East Africa,


- having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,


–     having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,


- having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights,


- having regard to the Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa (LSLBI) of the African Union, the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa,


- having regard to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) endorsed by the UN Committee on World Food Security,


- having regard to the EU High-Level Conference on Property Rights - The Missing Key to Eradicate Poverty of 9 April 2014,


- having regard to the Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa held in Addis Ababa from 11-14 November 2014,


- having regard to the study on 'Addressing the Human Rights Impact of Land Grabbing' commissioned by its subcommittee on Human Rights,


–   having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,


A. whereas the Tanzanian government has reneged on a promise not to turn 1,500 sq km of traditional Masai land in an area surrounded by the Serengeti, Maasai Mara and Ngorongoro national parks into a big game hunting reserve for the Ortello Business Corporation (OBC), a luxury hunting and safari company based in the United Arab Emirates, and is forcibly carrying out evictions of 40,000 Masai pastoralists for whom land, livestock and people are inseparable;


B. whereas, according to local sources, on 21 February 2015 the Masai community was issued with a government order to leave within 14 days the 'hunting area' allocated to OBC which consists of around 20 villages, and local NGOs have been threatened with de-registration, effectively terminating their right to exist and operate;


C. whereas it is reported that less than 10% of Tanzania's population have formal certificates of ownership of the land they farm thus preventing small landholdings from being used as collateral for borrowing;


D. whereas the EU financially supported the negotiation of the VGGT and supports their application through programme funding to improve land governance and whereas the Lough Erne G8 Leaders' Communiqué of 18 June 2013 expresses support for the VGGT;


E. whereas the EU is also supporting the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI), a joint initiative established by the African Union, the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa, and the G8 Land Transparency Initiative launched in 2013 to increase transparency of large-scale land deals;


1.  Calls on the Tanzanian government to immediately implement the VGGT and grant the effective justiciability of the rights enshrined therein; to uphold the first fundamental principle of the Guiding Principles on LSLBI, which includes respecting human rights of communities and customary land rights and contributes to the responsible governance of land and land-based resources in compliance with the rule of law; to bring about the full potential benefits of the new land laws in terms of increased access to land or improved management of communal land; and to improve land rights of women, who account for at least half of the workforce in farming and trading, but whose access to property rights and the services that accompany such rights (access to banks, participation in associations) remains constrained;


2. Asks the Commission to ensure the alignment of its land policy guidelines with the VGGT and to give greater importance to this through its development cooperation programmes, trade policy and involvement in multilateral financing institutions;


3.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government of Tanzania, the African Union, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament.