Survival International responds to latest Buzzfeed - WWF revelations

March 6, 2019

Congolese officials hand the top official (and WWF employee) of Salonga National Park an assault rifle. Some of the park’s guards have been accused of gang rape, torture and murder. © Sinziana-Maria Demian / WWF

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Just one day after WWF announced an “investigation” into revelations that the guards it funds have tortured and killed people, Buzzfeed has revealed that WWF commissioned an investigation into similar reports four years ago – and then covered up the findings.

Survival International Director Stephen Corry responds today:

“Buzzfeed is uncovering a horror show involving murder, gang-rape and cover-ups. Their latest report shows how WWF seems pathologically incapable of acknowledging its complicity in human rights atrocities.

It’s known for years that the paramilitary units it funds have beaten, tortured and killed, and its response is always the same – a smokescreen of meaningless promises of action, and then carry on as before.

“This time they haven’t even tried to make their response sound convincing. They’ve commissioned a law firm that knows nothing about Indigenous people, but specializes in “reputation management”, and even advises clients that “respondi[ng] fully… to all questions put… is not always the best strategy.”

“WWF needs a comprehensive, radical change of direction. It must stop working in areas where it doesn’t have the local people’s consent, compensate its victims, fire the guilty, and put its money and vast resources in the service of the tribal peoples who are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world.”