For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

+44 (0)207 687 8709 | +44 (0)7841 029 289

Letters Implicate WWF in Illegal Land Grab and Human Rights Abuses

WASHINGTON - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of the world’s biggest conservation organizations, is breaking the law in its backing of a conservation zone in the Congo Basin, according to letters released today.

The letters demonstrate that the new protected area, known as Messok Dja, is being created without the free, prior and informed consent of the people who rely on that land for survival, members of the Baka and Bakwele tribes.

The letters also document human rights abuses committed by ecoguards funded and supported by WWF. Many similar allegations have been made against WWF previously.

According to national and international law, indigenous people must give consent for any project affecting their lands, territories and resources. Without the consent of the people who rely on the land for survival, the establishment of Messok Dja park is illegal.

Over a hundred people from six villages in Republic of Congo have signed the letters, which also describe horrific violence and abuse by ecoguards funded and supported by WWF.

One letter states:


Never Miss a Beat.

Get our best delivered to your inbox.

“WWF came to tell us that they are going to make a new national park and that we will no longer have the right to go in it. But that is our forest and we do not want this park. We know that it means destruction for us and that ecoguards will come and beat people and burn down houses. Many of us have been beaten with machetes and guns by the ecoguards.”

The ecoguard unit in Sembe was set up with the help of WWF and continues to receive financial and logistical support from WWF.

The letters from the Baka people were released today by Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples. Director Stephen Corry said:

“WWF must withdraw its support for Messok Dja immediately. It claims the government is responsible for assigning protected area status to the Baka’s land, but this excuse will not wash: WWF’s own policy (and international human rights norms) say it cannot support a project that the local indigenous people do not want."


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

The movement for tribal peoples. Survival is the only organization working for tribal peoples’ rights worldwide.

We work with hundreds of tribal communities and organizations. We are funded almost entirely by concerned members of the public and some foundations. We will not take national government money, because governments are the main violators of tribal peoples’ rights, nor will we take money from companies which might be abusing tribal peoples.

Share This Article