16 December 2016
Frederick Kumah, Director, WWF Regional Office for Africa said:
“WWF takes these and any allegations of alleged human rights violations extremely seriously. We plan to investigate these matters fully. We have worked over the years to verify alleged abuses, and we take all appropriate measures to address allegations brought to our attention, including communicating these to the appropriate authorities. However, to do so we request full information immediately from Survival International so we are able to progress on these matters urgently.
“During our years of work inside Cameroon, WWF has worked closely with the Baka and other local communities on the establishment of protected areas and strongly advocated for the rights of indigenous people. WWF has worked strenuously to obtain improved recognition and rights for the Baka. We recognize that there is more work to be done to improve conditions for the Baka in Cameroon and have raised with Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Wildlife the necessity to improve mechanisms for the reception and resolution of incidents of alleged conflicts or abuses and to take appropriate measures in substantiated instances, including any involving government ecoguards.
“WWF has provided human rights training for ecoguards, and is currently engaged in support for a ministry review of ecoguard conduct, supporting use of traditional community sanctions and exploring possibilities of community and collaborative policing. WWF welcomes the opportunity for an inclusive discussion in Cameroon to address how to improve conditions for the Baka so that people and nature can thrive.”