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Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation: WWF Must Fully Investigate “Extremely Concerning” Human Rights Allegations

The actor shared his 2016 Golden Globe with “indigenous communities around the world” – but he is a prominent public backer and board member of the international mega-charity implicated in human rights abuses.

Leonardo DiCaprio at the 2016 Golden Globes, where he shared his award win with “all the indigenous communities around the world."

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has called on the World Wide Fund for Nature to fully investigate evidence of human rights abuses by anti-poaching guards it backs at wildlife parks around the world and “provide the public with a full and transparent accounting of their findings”.

The actor sits on the US board of the global mega-charity and his own foundation has worked alongside WWF for years in Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape, where rangers and soldiers have been accused of crimes including sexual assault, beatings and murder.

A BuzzFeed News investigation exposed on Monday how the beloved wildlife charity has for years funded and equipped paramilitary forces that have tortured and killed villagers living near the national parks it supports.

DiCaprio’s decision to distance himself from WWF in the wake of the revelations will intensify pressure on the charity’s other prominent supporters, including the British naturalist David Attenborough, the tennis player Andy Murray, and the actor Christian Bale, who have so far declined to comment.

There is no evidence that DiCaprio knew of atrocities against indigenous people, and the actor has declined repeated requests to respond personally to the evidence uncovered by BuzzFeed News.

But a spokesperson for his foundation said last night: “The allegations against WWF are extremely concerning. The entire LDF team is committed to funding the most effective environmental projects across the globe, and holds all of its grantee partners – including WWF – accountable to abide by international law and human rights best practices. We urge WWF to complete an independent, comprehensive review of these allegations, and provide the public with a full and transparent accounting of their findings while taking all appropriate corrective measures.”