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When Conservation Perpetuates Colonisation

November 20, 2021
Radio Islam International

A recent report from the US based Oakland Institute implicates conservation institutes in Kenya as being involved in serious human rights abuses and crimes, including torture, killings and forced displacements of natives and indigenous populations.

Significantly the institutes involved, including the Northern Range Trust, are close to the elite, including the British Royals.

Speaking to Radio Islam International, Fiore Longo, head of the Paris and Spain offices of Survival International, lamented how these institutes claimed to be community based, but are actually disempowering. Longo said, “We are talking about pastoralists living in Northern Kenya, losing their ancestral lands that they have been managing for generations because of this Northern Range Trust, which is a conservation agency, and was involved in the establishment of this community conservancies.”

The NRT is headed by Ian Craig, a notorious individual, who was provided a British special order in 2016, and was initially acquired during the colonial period. Significantly, Boris Johnson also visited NRT conservatories, while Prince William spent a part of his gap year at the NRT, and proposed to his later wife on a retreat to the NRT a few years later.

Longo pointed out how propaganda by these institutes allows them to receive donations from aid organisations and individuals, including the fact that many are headed by former members of the global elite. Africa Parks for example, Longo argues, has a close relationship with Prince Harry.

While, Longo denied any reports of killing for sport at NRT, he argued that individuals had died as a result of the land displacements, and reiterated the accusations of torture at the conservatories.

The association with the elite leads Longo to argue that it would only be bottom-up pressure that would force change: “If we don’t want this story to disappear, as we imagine it’s going to happen, we need to create a change in public opinion, because we shouldn’t forget that these so-called conservation NGOs are getting all individual money when we donate to them, or worse, are getting all taxpayers money. So, we need to be clear about this with all politicians – environmental projects won’t happen at the expense of human rights.”