Minority Rights Group International accused park rangers funded by Germany and the United States of murder and rape of indigenous community members residing in the DRC national park.
According to a new investigation by Minority Rights Group International (MRG), internationally funded and trained park guards in the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (PNKB) in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been killing, raping, and terrorizing indigenous Batwa living on their ancestral lands inside the park.
‘We are witnessing a policy of state violence aimed at terrorizing an already highly marginalized indigenous community into leaving a park which was created on their ancestral homeland,’ said Agnes Kabajuni, MRG’s Africa Regional Manager, adding that “It is unacceptable that indigenous peoples across the Great Lakes region are being disproportionately targeted by heavily militarized conservation policies simply because they are forest-dwellers.”
The report “To Purge the Forest by Force” revealed an alleged three-year campaign of systematic violence by park authorities to evict Batwa from their lands, which was funded by the German and US governments, as well as the Wildlife Conservation Society, a global conservation group (WCS).
According to the report, The German and US governments, WCS, and other supporters were notified in writing in May 2019 that park guards they had paid for, equipped, and trained were shooting and threatening Batwa inside the PNKB, and that park management planned to remove them by force if necessary.
‘They cannot plead ignorance or claim their support was insignificant. The evidence uncovered during this investigation clearly indicates that they were complicit in abuses that likely rise to the level of crimes against humanity,” said Robert Flummerfelt, author of the report.
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