The Human Rights Dimensions of Conservation and Climate Change Initiatives in Coastal Tanzania: Examples of Villagers’ Successful Struggles for Their Rights

  • Betsy A. Beymer-Farris
  • Ian BrycesonEmail author
  • Chris Maina Peter
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


Abuse of human rights in conservation initiatives, such as REDD+, wildlife conservation, etc., has raised concern in many project reviews. Few studies have, however, examined the human rights dimensions of conservation and climate change. In this chapter the authors address this gap by showing how outsiders, with the assistance of the state, attempted to control areas historically governed by local residents in the name of conservation and climate change policy initiatives in the Mafia Island and Rufiji Delta, Southern Tanzania. The interventions were implemented with the old-fashioned premise that the villagers were destructive and extravagant resource users. The authors also try to illustrate how the international linkages to worldwide conservation narratives and to development aid by rich countries promoting climate measures in poor countries to try to absolve their carbon emissions revealed the ways in which such vested interests attempted “to misuse their money, power, and influence.”



We express our sincere thanks to the people of Mafia and Rufiji for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for all the inspiration and hospitality they have given us. We give our special thanks go to the elected leaders of key villages: Ahamada Mahmoud Ngokoro, Chairperson of Mchinga village, Rufiji; Ahmadi Selemani Kidagaa, former Chairperson of Juani village, Mafia; Ali Haruni, Chairperson of Kiegeani village, Mafia; Fakhi Ali Hassan, Chairperson of Jibondo village, Mafia; Hamisi Yusuf Mtimba, former Chairperson of Kiomboni, Rufiji; Jumanne Kikumbi, Chairperson of Nyamisati village, Rufiji; Maburuki Sadiki, former Chairperson of Chole village, Mafia; Makame Mohamed, former Chairperson of Banja village, Mafia; Miwadi Mmadi Mwinyi, Chairperson of Juani village, Mafia; Mohamedi Haji Tuki, Chairperson of Jimbo village, Mafia; Omari Hemedi Upindo, former Chairperson of Kiomboni village, Rufiji; Saidi Seifu, former Chairperson of Kiegeani village, Mafia; Shehari Ahmad, Chairperson of Chole village, Mafia; Yahaya Akungwa, Chairperson of Kiomboni village, Rufiji; Yusuf Swale Mamboka, Chairperson of Mfisini village, Rufiji.

We are very indebted to the staff of the Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance and especially to the following outstanding individuals: Hon. Commissioner (Retired) Ali Hassan Rajabu (Former Commissioner), Hon. Justice (Retired) Amiri Ramadhani Manento (Former Chair); Hon. Bahame Tom Nyanduga (Former Chair); Ms. Mary Massay (Secretary to the Commission); and Mr. Francis Nzuki (Director for Human Rights). Moreover, we are highly grateful to many individuals in the Tanzanian Government state institutions, including the late Mr. Geofrey Nanyaro (Former Director of Fisheries) as well as Professor Pius Yanda and other key persons at the University of Dar es Salaam and the State University of Zanzibar, and to very many others.

For support in arranging numerous workshops and seminars, we are very grateful to the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA), the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF), and the International Foundation for Science (IFS). For research funding, we thank the Norwegian Programme for Development, Research and Education (NUFU), the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). We also thank Thomas Bassett and Rod Smolla as well as the University of Kentucky, the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and the University of Dar es Salaam for support in our research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Betsy A. Beymer-Farris
    • 1
  • Ian Bryceson
    • 2
    Email author
  • Chris Maina Peter
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geography and Environmental and Sustainability StudiesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Norwegian University of Life SciencesDepartment for International Environment and Development StudiesÅsNorway
  3. 3.School of LawUniversity of Dar es SalaamDar es SalaamTanzania

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