Prince Harry urged to quit Africa charity over allegations of 'rape and abuse' to indigenous people by its guards

Monday 29 January 2024

Prince Harry has been urged to step down from a conservation charity board while it investigates claims its park rangers raped and beat indigenous people in the Congo basin.

An investigation by the Mail on Sunday claims guards working for African Parks subjected the Baka people to a range of human rights abuses.

One woman, Ella Ene, claimed she was raped by a guard as she held her four-week-old baby in her arms. Her attacker only served two months behind bars, according to the report.

Another man claimed he was tortured and beaten when guards found him collecting honey for his family.

While he was president of the charity in 2023, the Duke of Sussex was reportedly contacted by Survival International, an organisation for tribal peoples, about the issue.

He was also sent a video message from a member of the Baka, who said: "The eco-guards are stopping us from going into the forest. I’d like whoever is sending all these people here to hear what it’s like.

Harry has been urged to step down from African Parks' board, which he joined after six years as president

"I want the person who is in charge of the eco-guards and gives them their orders to hear this. Now there is only torture in the forest."

Harry reportedly responded within a fortnight to Survival International promising to escalate its concerns to senior members of the organisation.

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However, after receiving no further updates from the duke, the campaigners discovered he had joined the charity's board of directors.

Fiore Longo, campaigns director of Survival International, said: "He said he took it seriously, but it didn’t achieve the change we had hoped to see. Then, very disappointingly, we learnt that Harry had joined the board of directors."

TalkTV's Kinsey Schofield said: "I think Harry's name being associated with the charity is a blessing because it's elevated it to the level that it has.

"Things like this happen every day all over the world unfortunately, and because Prince Harry's name is associated with it, it landed on the front page of The Mail on Sunday, and it's being taken very seriously.

"If he was still under the protective umbrella of the palace this wouldn't have gotten to this point, but at the same time, I see the value in his name being associated with it, because we're talking about it and things might actually change."