With the critical support of the EU, a consortium of NGOs has set up a fund to protect and assist environmental activists and human rights defenders in four Central African countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon and the Republic of Congo.
The FADAC fund (Fonds d’Assistance aux Défenseurs en Afrique Centrale) offers legal and financial assistance to those working with communities and operating in areas where natural resources, including forests, are exploited. It is an important response to the violation of rights of forest peoples and guardians of the forest.
The EU’s support is timely: environmental and human rights activists in the region are increasingly under pressure, and frequently the victims of legal and physical harassment. This was recently illustrated by the case of Nasako Besingi (pictured), sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for mobilising communities against the land-grab by US-based Herakles Farms (FW 200, FW 209) in south-west Cameroon.
“The EU’s support is very encouraging because the protection of environmental watchdogs is a precondition to defend communities’ rights and collective interests,” says FADAC permanent secretary Appolin Koagne of Cameroonian NGO CED.