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The Port Maputo Statement

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The Port Maputo Statement
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The Poachers' Manifesto 

... published by the Indigenous African Poachers' Federation ... (IAPF.Africa) ... 


Poachers' Lives Matter

We speak on behalf of the poachers …

1) We applaud the extraordinary success of the peoples of South Africa in bringing the last remaining critically-endangered population of some 20 Southern White Rhino back from the brink of extinction to where there are now well in excess of 20,000 Southern White Rhino and they are no longer in any immediate danger of extinction. Rhino numbers are still increasing despite the recent upsurge in poaching and despite widespread reports to the contrary. There is more wildlife now in South Africa than there has been in over 400 years … a testament to the environmental policies of South Africa which we consider to be amongst the most enlightened, forward-thinking and successful in the world, light-years ahead of anything the West has to offer.

 2) We acknowledge that some of our people are rhino-poachers, a practice which we condemn in the strongest possible terms, but we defend, wholeheartedly, our right to make use of the natural-resources available to us, including and especially the wildlife, legally or not. We weren’t poachers until colonial authorities re-categorized us as poachers at the London Conventions of 19001 and 19332, even though we weren’t doing anything different than we’d been doing for thousands of years. The overwhelming majority of our people only hunt antelope and other small game for meat and have no interest in rhino or elephant poaching … we just want some good food …

  3) The right of the peoples of Africa to make use of the natural resources available to them is the foundation of conservation in Africa, and has been the foundation of conservation in Africa ever since the colonial model of conservation was rejected and discarded at the Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources at Algiers in 19683. Rhino-poaching is almost exclusively the province of a small number of highly organized criminal enterprises which have no relationship or interaction with the vast majority of Africans …

  4) The Algiers’ Convention, reconfirmed at Maputo in 20034, states unequivocally that the peoples of Africa have an inherent right to make use of the natural resources on their homelands. This is in complete accordance with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the World Conservation Union, the World-Wide-Fund for Nature, and the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights …

  5) We are those peoples, and until mechanisms are put in place to empower us to manage our own resources legally, we will continue to poach. We celebrate and applaud those nations with established programs that enable the sustainable-use of renewable resources and point to the Community-Based-Natural-Resource-Management programs in Namibia as a prime example. Some 200,000 Namibians, once impoverished communities of poachers, now control, legally, almost twenty percent of Namibia’s land-mass – more land than the national parks. The wildlife has returned, the people are uplifted, and the Namibian economy has been strengthened …

  6) We object strongly to efforts by some members of the global community to dehumanize us, and we profess solidarity with disadvantaged communities throughout the world which suffer from poverty, crime and excessive brutality.

These are their voices:

  • What is wrong with you? … You are killing our people” - Bordertown, Mozambique …
  • Our children are dying” - Bordertown, Mozambique …
  • Stop killing our people” - Ferguson, Missouri, the United States of America …
  • We have people in power who are killing our people, hurting our people, use excessive force, unnecessary force, and treat us like animals … we are human beings and want to be treated like human beings” - Baltimore, Maryland, the United States of America …

  … or to put it more succinctly in the context of this manifesto … Poachers’ Lives Matter …

  7) We support, wholeheartedly, SANParks and other African anti-poaching units in their efforts to combat rhino-poaching, but we object to excessive brutality and the militarization of conservation efforts. Fortunately, this has not escaped the attention of the academic community. Current assessments from scholars throughout the world range from concern that “Green-Militarization” might lead to highly repressive policies which will be counter-productive in the long run … to its outright condemnation as a “Triple-Fail”. It fails to protect the wildlife, it fails the peoples of Africa, and it fails the global community. We concur with the latter assessment …

  8) We especially object to non-African, ex-military individuals coming to Africa masquerading as conservationists simply because they are unable to cope with life after military service. We suggest that they, and the world, would be better-served if they return to their native lands and seek whatever professional help they might need to adjust to life in a non-militarized environment, rather than bringing their pathology with them, wherever they go …

  9) “The people of Africa are the cornerstone of conservation” writes South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, Bomo Edna Molewa … “without involving communities we cannot hope to eradicate rhino poaching”. We are the people of Africa. We are Africa’s most important latent asset, and the future of Africa’s wildlife will never be secure without us; but if you continue to regard us as the enemy and make war upon us … you will lose … the wildlife will lose … and Africa will lose …

  

The Port Maputo Statement

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