WWF admits to “sad” over abuse of human rights

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A lengthy, long-delayed report revealed on Tuesday that one of the world’s largest charities has known for years that it is funding suspected human rights violations, but has repeatedly failed to resolve the issue.

BuzzFeed News Survey The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), which was first exposed in March 2019, is a beloved non-profit organization with a cute panda logo. How to fund and equip park rangers who have been beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted and murdered by dozens people.In response, WWF immediately Commission An “independent review” led by former UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay.

160 pages of comments are now Publish online, Which confirmed the issue in BuzzFeed News Nepal, Cameroon, This the republic of Congowith Democratic Republic of the Congo.The report stated that the team was Coronavirus disease The pandemic went from travel to the location where abuse was reported.

The review found that WWF has repeatedly failed to follow its “its own commitment to respect human rights.” These commitments are not only required by law, but also essential for “protecting nature.”

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in a statement In response to this comment, WWF expressed “deep and unreserved sadness for those suffering” and stated that the abuse of park rangers “feared us and violated all the values ??we represent. The charity acknowledged its shortcomings and welcomed the suggestions, stating that “we can and will do more.”

Pillay’s comments refused to address whether the executives discovered by BuzzFeed News Aware of “accelerating” violence As early as January 2018, at least one wildlife park was responsible for the charity’s mistakes.

In the Congo Basin, WWF has done “especially weak” work in fulfilling its human rights commitments. Wildlife charities have not fully investigated reports of murder, rape, and torture because they fear that government partners will “really The investigation reacted negatively,” the team found. After understanding similar shocking allegations, and even in some cases, WWF provides technical and financial support to park rangers around the world, who are called “ecological guards” locally. Damn comment Activities commissioned by the non-profit organization itself confirmed “serious and widespread” reports of abuse.

The report found that although park officials were allegedly accused of torture, rape, and murder from the early 2000s to July this year, Nepal “has no formal mechanism for WWF to understand suspected abuse during anti-poaching operations. Happening”. Defeated an indigenous youth And destroyed the houses of the local community. The report said: “WWF needs to know what is happening where it works” in order to implement its human rights policy.

Frank Bienewald/Getty Images

A river in the Chitwan National Park in Nepal.

The report found that, in general, WWF did not pay much attention to credible allegations of abuse, did not establish a victim complaint system, and portrayed an overly optimistic picture of its anti-poaching war in public communication. The author of the report wrote: “Unfortunately, WWF’s commitment to implementing its social policies has not been fully and consistently adhered to.”

WWF has been committed to combating wildlife crime for decades. Although local governments formally hire and pay forest rangers who patrol national parks and protect wildlife reserves, in many countries in Africa and Asia, WWF has provided important funding to make their work possible. Charity organizations have opposed poaching in a difficult war.

in a Multi-part series, BuzzFeed News found that the WWF’s poaching war was accompanied by civilian casualties: impoverished villagers living near the park. At the time, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) responded that many of BuzzFeed’s claims were “inconsistent with our understanding of the incident”-but the charity quickly revised many of its human rights policies after publication.

In the United States, this series of cases triggered bipartisan investigations. suggested Legislation that prohibits the government from providing money to international protection organizations that fund or support human rights violations.It also prompted The Ministry of the Interior freezes funds, Reviewed by the Government Accountability Office, and conducted government investigations in the UK and Germany.

The new review provides more recommendations for charities to improve their oversight, including hiring more human rights experts, conducting more stringent due diligence before working on protection projects, and working with WWF’s government and law enforcement partners. Sign human rights commitments in this field and establish an effective complaint mechanism. The system makes it easier for indigenous people to report abuse.

The review found that until 2018, WWF’s network of offices around the world did not have “consistent and unified efforts” to “resolve complaints about human rights violations.”

Many of the team’s findings point directly to the highest level: “The commitment to fulfill the obligation to respect human rights should be approved at the highest level of the organization,” the team wrote. Although all WWF offices in the Congo Basin are directly managed by WWF International, its staff at the Swiss Grande headquarters rarely supervise the organization’s work in the Congo.

WWF International also did not provide clear guidance to local offices on how to fulfill its human rights commitments. For example, there are no network-wide regulations on how to work with law enforcement officers and park rangers. As a result, each program office “sets or does not develop a code of conduct, training materials, conditions for supporting rangers, and procedures for responding to allegations of abuse.”

The expert panel wrote: “Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the WWF International Organization and the entire WWF network to ensure that the allegations of human rights violations by the ecological protectors to whom WWF provides financial and technical support are properly resolved.”

Ezequiel Becerra/Getty Images

Marco Lambertini, International Director-General of WWF

Last October, BuzzFeed News revealed that Director General Marco Lambertini and Chief Operating Officer Dominic O’Neill Personal review The report commissioned by WWF records the “accelerated” violence in Cameroon by guards supported by WWF. The report was sent to senior officials in January 2018, more than a year after BuzzFeed News began to expose similar abuses. However, Pillay’s comments hardly mention whether WWF executives are responsible for the failure of the charity.

On the contrary, the focus of the review is the complex system of WWF. Under this system, even if WWF International is legally responsible, each planning office has to cooperate with “very limited countries under the consultation or supervision of WWF International.” The expert panel wrote that this obscured “clear responsibilities and division of responsibilities”, leading to “difficulties and confusion” and “ineffective” human rights resolution attempts.

The panel of experts could not find a single contract between WWF International and its partner countries that contained provisions on human rights responsibilities or the rights of indigenous peoples.

The group also criticized the WWF press conference in detail, saying that it needed to “be more proactive in responding to the challenges it faces” and that it “faces allegations of human rights violations related to the activities it supports,” How to react more transparently”. In some cases, “it is clear that in order to avoid arousing criticism, WWF has decided not to publish a commissioned report, does not value the information received or exaggerates the validity of its proposed response.”

Internal attention to promoting “good news” seems to “lead to a culture” in which the program office “is unwilling to share or upgrade their full knowledge of allegations of human rights violations due to fear of intimidating donors or donors. Offended National partners.” The report said. “The challenges that WWF faces in promoting the protection and respect of human rights should be more transparent internally and externally. Equally important is the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of efforts to overcome these challenges It must be more straightforward.”

The report immediately drew criticism from celebrities, who said that the report did not fully acknowledge the charity’s responsibility for the abuse of indigenous people. Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, a tribal rights advocacy organization, said: “This report echoes the previous response of the WWF, placing the blame on the’government rangers’.”

A spokesperson for the British Tropical Rainforest Foundation said that WWF’s response to the report “failed to take responsibility for WWF’s shortcomings” and “or apologizes to many individuals who have suffered human rights violations in their name.”

The Forest People’s Project, an indigenous rights organization that has reported abuses to WWF, said the report shows that all wildlife charities need to take a serious look at themselves.

“Forest Project Coordinator Helen Tugendhat (Helen Tugendhat) said: “The human rights violations suffered by indigenous peoples and local communities listed in the report highlight the fundamental problems that have emerged in the entire protection sector. These problems are not isolated. At the World Wide Fund for Nature. “We urge other conservation organizations and conservation funders to read this report carefully, and evaluate and modify their own practices. “

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