Manual on human right, good practices in anti-poaching operations launched
The Manual was produced by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) with financial support from GIZ and technical input from the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, the Cameroon National Commission for Human Right and Freedoms and the Cameroon Bar Association.
First of its kind in Cameroon, the Manual “will serve as a guide for every ranger who in the process of arresting a poacher must keep in mind that there are norms recognized both at national and international levels that must be respected,” stated Dr. Hanson Njiforti, National Director of WWF Cameroon.
“We produced this manual in response to a request from rangers and wildlife officers after a workshop we organized in October 2016 to train them on the respect of human right during anti-poaching operations,” said Dr. Njiforti.
Launching the manual, the Director of Wildlife and Protected Areas in Cameroon’s Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) Joseph Lekealem, said “nobody can ignore the difficulties and dangers that rangers face while carrying out their duties to safeguard biodiversity.” He said the Ministry in charge of wildlife can only attain its objectives through frank collaboration, honesty and sincerity of all stakeholders. He thanked WWF and GIZ for their continuous support for the sustainable management of biodiversity in Cameroon.
In a preface to the Manual, the President of Cameroon’s National Commission for Human Right and Freedoms, Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda, said the Manual clarifies the rights and obligations of the different actors involved in anti-poaching operations and the risk they face for violating the rules and regulations. He said the Manual is a tool for sensitization of rangers on the respect of human rights as an imperative in every initiative aimed at protecting biodiversity.
Dr. Chemuta said the manual also laid emphasis on rights specific to indigenous people and local communities around protected areas.
The Manual was launched during World Rangers Day, set aside every July 31 to celebrate efforts of eco-guards risking their lives to protect forest and wildlife. Responding to fears from journalists that the Manual tends to protect suspects to the detriment of wildlife law enforcement agents the President of the Cameroon Bar Association Human Rights Commission, Barrister Eteme Eteme. “If procedures are respected, we can reach the ideal of reconciling environmental protection with the protection of the rights of those causing harm to the environment,” Barrister Eteme said.