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Cameroon: WWF Complicit in Tribal People’s Abuse

Survival International

October 6, 2014

Baka in southeast Cameroon face serious abuse at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by WWF.

Baka in southeast Cameroon face serious abuse at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by WWF.
© Selcen Kucukustel/Atlas

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, has uncovered serious abuses of Baka “Pygmies” in southeast Cameroon, at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported and funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

The Baka are being illegally forced from their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation” because much of their land has been turned into “protected areas” – including safari-hunting zones.

Rather than target the powerful individuals behind organized poaching, wildlife officers and soldiers pursue Baka who hunt only to feed their families.

Watch Baka recount the abuse they suffer at the hands of anti-poaching squads supported by WWF:

Baka suffer abuse in the name of conservationIn southeast Cameroon, many Baka are being illegally forced from their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation.”They are accused of “poaching” because they hunt their food.

They face arrest and beatings, torture and death at the hand of anti-poaching squads supported by WWF.

Many Baka (such as the woman speaking in this video) in fact refer to anti-poaching squads as “dobi-dobi” (WWF), since they do not distinguish between WWF and Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Fauna.

The Baka and their neighbors accused of “poaching” face arrest, beatings and torture. Many Baka claim that friends and relatives have died as a result of the beatings.

Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Fauna, which employs the wildlife officers, is funded by WWF. WWF also provides officers with technical, logistical and material assistance. Without this support the anti-poaching squads could not function.

UN standards require WWF to prevent or mitigate “adverse human rights impacts directly linked to its operations” even if it has not contributed to them, but the giant of the conservation industry appears reluctant to acknowledge this. Despite the evidence that the anti-poaching squads have grossly abused the rights of the Baka, WWF continues to provide its crucial support.

As a result of the loss of their land and its resources, many Baka have reported a serious decline in their health and a rise in diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS. And they fear going into the forest that has provided them with everything they need for countless generations.

The Baka fear going into the forest which has provided them with everything they need.

The Baka fear going into the forest which has provided them with everything they need.
© Survival International

A Baka man told Survival, “The forest used to be for the Baka but not anymore. We would walk in the forest according to the seasons but now we’re afraid. How can they forbid us from going into the forest? We don’t know how to live otherwise. They beat us, kill us and force us to flee to Congo.”

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, “Tribal peoples are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. They know more about their lands and what happens on them than anyone else. If conservation is to work, organizations like WWF need to stick to international law, uphold tribal peoples’ land rights, ask them what help they need in protecting their land, listen to them, and then be prepared to back them up as much as they can. A major change in thinking about conservation is urgently required.”

 

UPDATE 16 October: WWF has responded angrily to Survival’s campaign. Read the facts behind the headlines.

 

Notes to editors:

– “Pygmy” is an umbrella term commonly used to refer to the hunter-gatherer peoples of the Congo Basin and elsewhere in Central Africa. The word is considered pejorative and avoided by some tribespeople, but used by others as a convenient and easily recognized way of describing themselves. Read more.

– Survival has submitted a request to the Cameroonian National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms asking it to investigate these abuses.

– Many Baka (such as the woman speaking in the video) refer to anti-poaching squads as “dobi-dobi” (WWF) since they do not distinguish between WWF and Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Fauna.

– Visit Survival’s Parks Need People page for other examples of tribal peoples evicted from their ancestral homelands in the name of “conservation”.

 

WATCH: At Top Level, WWF is Pro-GMO & Advocates Genetic Engineering

Wrong Kind of Green

October 26, 2014

Read: Panda Leaks

“Monsanto, Cargill, Unilever and Syngenta are the joint founders of a powerful international lobbyist association, the Food & Agriculture Trade Policy Council. Its mission is to spread the gospel of GMOs throughout the world. The council propagates a new “green revolution” that would use genetic engineering to overcome famine on earth. The WWF is the only NGO represented in this lobbyist organization – by Jason Clay.

In the summer of 2010, at a Global Harvest Initiative conference in Washington D.C., spokespeople for Monsanto and DuPont took to the stage, beating the drum for the intensive farming of the future. Jason Clay of the WWF was next up to the podium. In his speech he professed unambiguous faith in genetic engineering: “We need to freeze the footprint of agriculture. We think there are 7 or 8 things –and you can disagree with that, and that’s great, let’s get the discussion started – that we need to work on to do that. ONE IS GENETICS. We have got to produce more with less. We’ve got to focus not just on temperate crops, and not just on annual crops, but on tropical crops, on ‘orphan’ crops, on crops that produce more calories per input, per hectare, with fewer impacts.”

As an example of the potential of genetic modification Jason Clay referred to a study financed by mega grain wholesaler Cargill. It concluded: with genetic engineering the production of palm oil could be doubled. And: the food supply problems of the world’s poorest countries could –according to Jason Clay –only be solved with the help of GMOs, which would enable each tree to deliver the harvest of three times the conventional amount of mangos, cacao beans, or bananas. “We need to get our priorities right. We need to start focusing on the food production. Where it’s needed, what’s needed, and how to move forward. It takes 15 years at least (and maybe longer as we go along), to bring a genetically engineered product to market. If we don’t start today, we’re already at 2025. The clock is ticking we need to get moving.” (Jason Clay, senior vice president of WWF)

See in comments below a link to the video that shows the talk where Jason Clay advocates genetic engineering:

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