Human rights violations and abuses are unacceptable under any circumstances. The Independent Panel report makes it clear that “WWF has not fulfilled its human rights commitments.”
WWF needs to fully own their responsibility for abuses that are committed by rangers or ‘ecoguards’ working in the protected areas WWF manages or co-manages. In addition to following up on all the Review Panel’s recommendations, Greenpeace expects WWF to offer a full apology to survivors, and ensure they receive appropriate reparations.
More fundamentally, WWF and other conservation organisations and their funders need to reckon with a colonial ‘fortress conservation’ model which restricts access to customary and ancestral lands, and leads to harassment, abuse, evictions and killings of Indigenous People and other members of local communities.
Nature protection must be based on the legal recognition of peoples’ rights over their customary and ancestral land. Indigenous Peoples and local communities, who are themselves among the least responsible for the global extinction crisis, must be acknowledged as leaders in defending nature against industrial and criminal exploitation. The ongoing colonial practice of reducing them to collateral damage of conservation must end.