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Lawmakers on the house Committee on Natural resources, to investigate reports that the rangers are supported by a state-sponsored environmental and animal rights activist group, committed cruel crimes within a national Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Committee has recently requested that the Government Accountability Office and the Department of the Interior, look into every taxpayer dollar connection the following allegations, that the rangers raped and tortured villagers within the DRC Salonga National Park. The park is co-managed by the World Wide Fund for Nature – called the World Wildlife Fund in the United States Federal government receives funding from the U.S. government.
The top lawmakers on the Committee in a letter earlier this month to Carter Roberts, President and CEO of the WWF, the requirement of information about the alleged abuse of the rangers and all the information to the charity’s own investigation into the matter.
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“Despite the importance of the protection of wildlife and prevent the extinction of species, the United States is not a party to violations of fundamental human rights”,” Committee-Chairman Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., and the Ranking Republican Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah said in the letter. “In addition, such abuses undermine local support for wildlife conservation efforts and jeopardize the long-term species.”
Located in the Congo river basin in Central democratic Republic of the Congo, Solanga national Park was founded in 1970 and is managed jointly by the WWF and the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature, since 2015. The park receives funding from the United States and the German government.
An aerial view of the Salonga national Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo: UNESCO)
The allegations of human rights violations were first reported, earlier this year, after BuzzFeed News, you will receive a confidential report compiled by the WWF and the Congolese government. The report details the alleged beating and rape by the park Ranger from four women – were two of whom are pregnant – as well as the allegations that you killed one of the villagers beaten and tortured, others through tie fishing line to their penises.
The WWF and the Congolese government began the investigation of human rights violations, according to a nonprofit called the Rainforest Foundation UK, sent to the WWF, a report on allegations of rape and killing. The internal investigation was finally submitted in March, but has not yet publicly been made, and two experts who worked on it claim that the investigation was cut short, and they were prevented from looking into other alleged human rights violations carried out in and around the park.
The exact amount of federal funds to Washington, the WWF sent is unclear, as the charity, not the statistics, but in the fiscal year of 2018, almost $ 45 million – approximately 14 percent of WWF’s total budget came from government grants.
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In his letter to the Ministry of the interior fish and wildlife service on Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee’s specific dollar amounts for Federal grants to the World Wildlife Fund requested that the duration of the grants and what programs the money was for.
The letter follows the other, one in may of Grijalva and Bishop to the GAO, calling for an investigation “[w]as federal funds by the partner organisations, the in or in support of the efforts of human rights violations to support it.”
“Rangers and para-military forces with the task to make the protection of wildlife, often in remote parks often face violence, and heavily armed criminals engaged in poaching,” the two lawmakers said in the letter. “Recent reports, however, claim that the partner organizations, supported by the US have played the government role, funding, and equipment of the forces, they committed a series of human rights violations – including torture, sexual assaults and murders – in the Wake of the anti-poaching efforts.”
The WWF has not denied that the human rights violations, and in addition, the investigation that earlier this year, the organization referred to the alleged crimes in the DRC “Audi teur militaire” and suspended all the rangers suspected in the incidents. The charity announced that the implementation of a different study, triggered in August on allegations of other abuses by the Rainforest Foundation UK.
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“WWF will not tolerate any violation of human rights, and we are deeply concerned for victims of abuse,” the charity said in a statement earlier this month. “The WWF is working in extremely difficult regions and social contexts. We are constantly working to strengthen our capabilities, with the aim of increasing the protection of human rights and better ensure the safety wherever we operate around the world.”
The WWF has said that it will interfere with your report confidential, “out of concern for the health and safety of the victim and the victim “communities, and to due process”.
WFF has a copy of the report of the House Natural Resources Committee, but edited version, which came three months after the Committee has requested.
The Congress Committee is not the only, the examination of the reports from the Salonga National Park. The United Kingdom Charity Commission is investigating the allegations and the WWF-office in Germany has already completed its own investigation, finding that the charity needs for the overhaul of its human rights policy.