Contents page 1 — Has to comply with the WWF human rights? Page 2 — “We have decided never to accept police functions,” page 3 — “Our philosophy is, the people on the ground to include” On a page
In a number of countries in Asia and Africa, including Nepal and Cameroon, read armed Ranger people are tortured, abused and killed. Some of the perpetrators had been state Ranger, which were co-financed by the WWF and supported. There are serious allegations that the US-magazine “BuzzFeed News” after intensive research in several of the Reports against the WWF International. Of organized Raids on villagers. In some cases, local soldiers have been recruited for armed action against poachers. The managing Director of WWF Germany, Christoph Heinrich says in this Interview with TIME ONLINE for the first time after the serious accusations against the foreign offices of the global NGO.
TIME ONLINE: Mr. Heinrich, what are cases, you know, as a representative of the WWF in Germany has been on the BuzzFeed News revealed and what is not?
Christoph Heinrich: Even if we work under often difficult situations in very remote regions, respect of human rights in all cases always a top priority for us. We were therefore affected by the serious allegations from the BuzzFeed articles. We immediately set up an international crisis team and together with external human rights experts launched a full investigation. Until we have substantial results, it will take it’s something. Some of the allegations should prove true, we will draw in every verifiable case, has very clear consequences. In the fight against poaching we are faced with a multibillion-dollar mafia-like and violent business. Rangers put their lives on the game, nevertheless, you are not allowed to be involved in it.
TIME ONLINE: Basically, the work of the WWF is based in many nature and species conservation projects around the world to the fact that international and local environmentalists to work together with the local authorities and institutions closely. This includes the local police, sometimes the military in the poaching fight. The idea behind it: Only those involving the structures, the politics, the interests of the population and the culture of a country, can operate effective and sustainable nature conservation. However, according to the allegation, the Reports in BuzzFeed, have exceeded the WWF in the outlined cases, unacceptable limits and, above all, the collaboration is not finished, even as the grievances were known. And according to what Standards and rules of the WWF selects the local partners and staff in project areas?
Christoph Heinrich is a graduate geographer and a member of the WWF Board of Directors. His focus: the conservation of biological diversity. He is responsible for projects for the protection of endangered species in the tropical and temperate Latitudes, including in Germany. © Britta Pedersen/dpa
Henry: The WWF is dependent in its nature conservation projects in cooperation with local partners and the local people. We enable, support and advise, but never in the role of the police or state violence. Protection and national parks of the state property areas. Who are involved there, not have with state actors, such as protected area authorities, the police, and very rarely with the army to cooperate, even if these States are contrary to our understanding of democracy and the rule of law. For us, this state of understanding is not binding, but our own. And we have a strict understanding of, among other things, in terms of human rights, which we have formulated in the guidelines, so-called social and environmental policies. Like most major organisations, we are developing so-called Safeguards. This is to ensure that no project is developed or implemented without the human rights, but also social issues and gender justice are integrated.
Zeit ONLINE: How is controlled normally by the WWF itself, or from the outside – that these Standards be adhered to?
Henry: The project coordinators from Germany are regularly on-site, review our work and develop a good understanding of the challenges and difficulties. We have also established in all project areas, Whistleblower Hotlines, to allow each of the WWF employee, and every employee around the world to report anonymously to an independent appeal body, if he or she dares to inform their superiors or the superiors should be in a violation involved. Our own colleagues of miss should stalls and even human rights violations know they are held, this internally to their Manager or the Executive Committee of WWF Germany.
TIME ONLINE: If Share is true, what has researched BuzzFeed News: Were in violation of these Standards, then, clearly miss?
Henry: Even if it is painful: We are looking for indications of possible violations of our Standards always be grateful. Therefore, we investigate on the one hand, even the current incidents, conscientiously, and comprehensively. We recognize, however, that a WWF-internal refurbishment would be in view of the Seriousness of the allegations alone is not sufficient. We can, therefore, all allegations by an independent international law firm to investigate. The WWF Germany has also decided to make its commitment under human rights aspects of the external experts to analyze. This is why we have the former human rights representative of the German government to win, Markus Löning,. A first interim report, we publish, we expect for April.