Chitwan National Park, WWF and Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

Overview

Chitwan National Park – the first national park established in 1973 in the territories Indigenous Peoples (Tharu, Chepang, Bote, Kumal) in central Nepal. The park has been violating the customary rights of Indigenous Peoples to land territories and resources.

The Park administration and army are allegedly involved in killing, torture, beating and other multiple forms of human rights violation. World Wide Fund for Nature Conservation (WWF), one of conservation’s most famous organizations, is supporting the national park activities.

LAHURNIP and National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF) conducted a fact finding mission with the support of IWGIA and submitted the mission report to the panel (Independent panel commissioned to review the role of WWF in relation to the reported human rights abuses) on February 20, 2020 with the aim of holding accountable to concerned stakeholders towards the rights of Indigenous and local communities.

WWF issued panel's  report in November 2020 that has recommended the roles of WWF to respect human rights. In the context of Nepal, the report has recommended to put in place a formal mechanism to ensure that allegations of human rights abuses made against rangers and/or the armed forces in areas where WWF works are brought to its attention. WWF should take such steps that the complaints have been adequately addressed. WWF Nepal should have an independent mechanism for reviewing and considering all complaints, including those against park rangers and army personnel and those in respect of indigenous peoples’ rights and their access to local resources.

WWF Nepal is committed to working with local communities and indigenous peoples to help mitigate the restrictions on livelihoods that result from the designation and management of protected areas through the provision of alternative livelihood options.