Home World News WWF acknowledges "The Sadness" of the abuse of human rights

WWF acknowledges “The Sadness” of the abuse of human rights


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One of the largest charities in the world for many years has known that they are sponsoring people accused of human rights abuses but constantly failing to solve the problem, a long and delayed report has. was revealed on Tuesday.

An investigation on BuzzFeed News was first revealed in March 2019 about how WWF, the beloved non-profit organization with the cuddly panda emblem, sponsored and equipped park rangers , torture, sexual assault and murder. In response, WWF immediately commissioned an “independent assessment” led by Navi Pillay, a former United Nations commissioner for human rights.

The review is 160 pages long, currently available online publishing, attesting to issues raised by BuzzFeed News in Nepal, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reports claim that the panel was deterred by COVID-19 pandemic from tourism to locations where abuse has occurred.

The review showed that WWF has repeatedly failed to follow “its own commitments to respect human rights” – commitments not only required by law but also essential to “the conservation of nature”.


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In one declare given in response to the review, WWF expressed “deep and irreversible sadness for those who have suffered,” and said that the abuse of the rangers “left us frightened and gone. on the contrary all the values ​​we have. ” The charity acknowledges its shortcomings and welcomes recommendations, saying “we can and will do more than that.”

Pillay’s review declined to mention whether the senior executives, whom BuzzFeed News found, were awareness of violence “accelerates” At least one wildlife park as of early January 2018, has been responsible for charity mistakes.

In the Congo basin, where WWF has done a “particularly weak” job in fulfilling human rights pledges, the wildlife charity has failed to fully investigate the killings. rape and torture for fear that government partners will “react negatively to efforts to investigate past human rights violations,” the panel found. There and elsewhere, WWF has provided technical and financial assistance to rangers, known locally as “ecological defenders,” even after learning of the economic allegations. imperial analogy – and, in some cases, later damn reviews Authorized by the nonprofit itself that has confirmed “severe and widespread” abuse reports.

The report found “there is no formal mechanism for WWF to be informed of the allegations of abuse in anti-poaching missions” in Nepal, despite charges of torture, rape and early murder. year 2000 to July this year, when park officials were accused defeated a native youth and demolished homes of a local community. “WWF needs to know what’s going on where it works,” said the report, in order to implement its own human rights policies.

Frank Bienewald / Getty Images

A river in the Chitwan National Park of Nepal.

Overall, WWF pays too little attention to credible abuse allegations, fails to build a system for victims to complain and paints an overly brilliant picture of their anti-poaching war on mass media, reports show. “Unfortunately, WWF’s commitments in implementing its social policies have not been fully and consistently followed,” the report’s authors write.

WWF has supported wildlife crime efforts for decades. Although local authorities formally recruit and pay rangers to patrol national parks and protected wildlife reserves, in a number of countries across Africa and Asia , WWF has provided important capital to help them get the job. The charity has shaped its crusade against poaching in fierce war conditions.

In one series of parts, BuzzFeed News found that WWF’s anti-poaching war was accompanied by civilian casualties: impoverished villagers living near parks. At the time, WWF responded that many of BuzzFeed’s claims were “inconsistent with our understanding of the events” – however the charity quickly overhauled many human rights policies after publication. .

In the United States, the series prompted a bipartisan and investigation offer Laws prohibit the government from giving money to international conservation groups to sponsor or support human rights violations. It also reminds one freezing the funds of the Ministry of the Interior, a review of the Government Accountability Office, and separate government polls in the UK and Germany.

The new review provides more recommendations for the charity to improve its oversight, including hiring more human rights specialists, and conducting more due diligence before implementing conservation projects. , sign a human rights pledge with WWF government and law enforcement partners in the field and establish effective systemic grievances so that Indigenous Peoples can more easily report abuse.

The review found that there was no “consistent and unified effort” in WWF’s network of offices around the world to “address complaints of human rights violations” until 2018.

Many of the panel’s findings point directly to the beginning: “Commitments to meet the responsibility to respect human rights should be approved at the highest level of the organization,” the panel wrote. Although all WWF offices in the Congo basin are directly under WWF International, the staff at its headquarters in Gland, Switzerland did little to oversee the team work. function there.

WWF International also does not provide clear guidance to local offices on how to fulfill their human rights commitments. For example, there are no network-wide norms for how to work with law enforcement and rangers. Therefore, each program office is “self-developed – or not – codes of conduct, training materials, conditions to support rangers, and procedures for responding to allegations of abuse”.

“Ultimately, it is the responsibility of WWF International and the WWF Network as a whole to ensure that allegations of human rights violations of the ecological protections for which WWF is providing technical and financial assistance have been properly addressed. “, the board wrote.

Ezequiel Becerra / Getty Images

General Manager of WWF International Marco Lambertini

Last October, BuzzFeed News revealed that both CEO Marco Lambertini and CEO Dominic O’Neill personal assessment a WWF-commissioned report documenting “accelerating” accounts of violence by WWF-backed bodyguards in Cameroon. That report was sent to superiors in January 2018 – more than a year before BuzzFeed News began exposing similar abuses. However, Pillay’s assessment says little about whether WWF executives are held accountable for the charitable failures.

Instead, the assessment focuses on WWF’s complex system, under which individual program offices cooperate with countries “with apparently very limited consultation or supervision from WWF International, ”Even if WWF International is legally responsible. This overshadowed “clear boundaries of responsibility and accountability”, the panel wrote, leading to “difficulty and confusion” and “inefficiency” to address human rights issues.

The panel could not find a single contract between WWF International and partner countries that contained provisions relating to human rights responsibilities or Indigenous rights.

The panel also criticized WWF’s long press conferences, saying that the organization needs to “better align with the challenges faced by this organization” and “be more transparent about how the team reacts.” this organization when faced with allegations of human rights violations related to the activities it supports ”. In some cases, “apparently in order to avoid spurring criticism, WWF decided not to publish authorized reports, downplayed information received, or over-exaggerated the effectiveness of suggested feedback ”.

The internal focus on promoting “good news” seems to “have led to a culture” in which program offices are “unwilling to share or present all of their knowledge about alleged human rights violations because of concerns about fearing donors or offending state partners, ”the report said. “WWF at all levels should be more transparent at home and abroad on the challenges it faces in promoting conservation and respect for human rights. Equally important, is to speak more frankly about the effectiveness, or the inefficiency of your efforts to overcome those challenges.

The report drew immediate criticism from famous voices, who said they did not fully acknowledge the charity’s responsibility for abuses against indigenous peoples. Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, the tribal rights advocacy group, said “the report echoes WWF’s earlier responses to transferring responsibility to ‘government rangers’.”

A spokesperson for the Rainforest UK Foundation said WWF International’s response to the “not responsible” report of WWF shortcomings “or sincerely apologizes to the many individuals who have been abused. human rights are exercised in their name by them. ”

The Forest Peoples Program, an indigenous rights group that has reported abuses to WWF, says the report shows that all wildlife charities need to look at themselves. .

Helen Tugendhat, program coordinator at the Forest Peoples Program, said: “The human rights abuses listed by indigenous peoples and local communities in the report highlight the fundamental problems that arise throughout the report. field set of conservation, not separate from WWF. “We urge other conservation organizations as well as conservation donors to read this report carefully and evaluate and revise their own activities.”

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