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Biden restores funds for groups linked to human-rights abuses

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President Joe Biden delivers remarks on prescription drug costs, Thursday, August 12, 2021, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House photo by Adam Schultz)

By Thomas Catenacci
Daily Caller News Foundation

The Biden administration quietly reversed a Trump-era decision halting conservation grants being used to indirectly fund human rights atrocities in Central Africa.

While the administration hasn’t publicly acknowledged the change, Department of Interior officials confirmed it during a private briefing with House Natural Resources Committee minority staff in October, a spokesperson for Ranking Member Bruce Westerman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a group that relies on U.S. tax dollars to fund international conservation efforts, noted that previously frozen funds had been awarded with “social safeguards” and implemented on the ground, in a statement to lawmakers earlier this year.

Eco-guards hired by WCS and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and funded through the Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE), had allegedly committed horrific atrocities including rape, torture and murder stretching back a decade, a March 2019 Buzzfeed News investigation found. In one alleged incident, guards beat and raped four women, including two who were pregnant, and in another incident, three men were hung by their penises from a tree branch by the guards.

CARPE, the largest environmental program funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, was designed to help protect the “ecological integrity” of the Congo Basin.

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