John and Patrick McEnroe slated by Human Rights Watch over planned Tanzanian tour evicting Maasai people

Human Rights Watch criticized Patrick and John McEnroe for the Epic Tanzania Tour, a luxury tennis-themed safari in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

Seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe will play against his brother Patrick next week in the first match in Tanzania amidst a luxury safari in Serengeti, Tanzania.

The safari, starting on December 8th and lasting for 8 days, is organized by Insider Expeditions, a private company, in collaboration with the government of Tanzania and President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The tennis players will also give a tennis lesson to Masai children amid protests over their forced eviction by the government from their ancestral homes.

Amidst growing tensions, the Tanzanian government has blocked access for Masai communities to crucial parts of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), citing concerns about population growth and livestock. Despite decades of residence in the area, the Masai, whose livelihood depends largely on herding, are excluded from living and grazing in the world's largest volcanic crater, the Ngorongoro Crater.

In an ironic twist, while residents face restrictions, tennis players and tourists enjoy privileged access to the crater. Additionally, the government has initiated a controversial "voluntary relocation" plan, without proper consultation, forcing 82,000 residents to move to a location 600 kilometers away by 2027. Coercion is heightened with the reduction of essential services and defunding of the Pastoral Council of Ngorongoro.

Government measures also restrict the pastoral activities of the community and block access to water for livestock. Government rangers beat and arrest residents for grazing in restricted areas, and since February 2022, identification is required to enter the area. Despite these human rights violations, calls to action have fallen on deaf ears, with Human Rights Watch seeking public support from Insider Expeditions and the McEnroe brothers without a response so far.

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