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Thursday April 18, 2024

Prince Harry's Africa conservation charity is under fire

Prince Harry's Africa conservation charity guards accused of new killing and torture

By Web Desk
March 17, 2024

Prince Harry's Africa conservation charity, African Parks, finds itself embroiled in fresh accusations of human rights abuses, including reports of extra-judicial killings and violent beatings. 

The allegations stem from incidents in Zambia involving rangers jointly managed by the organization, following earlier revelations of abuses against the Baka tribal people in the Republic of Congo, as reported on the front page of MoS in January.

African Parks, responsible for managing parks in 12 African countries with a force of 1,400 guards covering protected land comparable in size to Britain, has faced scrutiny despite its mission to save wildlife while collaborating with local communities. 

Prior to these allegations, Harry, who served as the charity's president for six years before joining its governing board of directors, praised the organization's approach, stating, "The African Parks model is exactly what conservation should be about – putting people at the heart of the solution."

However, the recent claims of brutality have surfaced in Zambia's Bangweulu Wetlands, a vast conservation area roughly the size of Devon, inhabited by 50,000 indigenous people with rights to sustainably harvest natural resources like fish, antelope, and rabbits. 

Since 2008, parks has overseen the management of the area in collaboration with the government and six local chiefdoms. 

However, the organization notes that this particular project stands out as the only one where management responsibilities are not entirely integrated, with conservation law enforcement still under the purview of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.