WHO Employees Linked to 80 Alleged Sexual Abuse Cases in DR Congo, Report Finds

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday has released its Independent Commission’s report into allegations of sexual abuse by aid workers during the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The investigation found more than 80 alleged cases of sexual abuse and exploitation including allegations implicating at least 20 WHO staff members with victims as young as 13 years of age. There were nine rape allegations among the recorded incidents.

The investigation implicated employees ranging from security guards and drivers to senior doctors, consultants, and epidemiologists, both Congolese and foreigners.

The investigation also established that most of the victims were vulnerable women and girls who were offered jobs in exchange for sex.

Paula Donovan, co-director of the Code Blue Campaign which is campaigning to end sexual exploitation by United Nations peacekeepers, commented that this “is the biggest finding of sexual abuse perpetrated during a single U.N. initiative in one area or one country during the time-bound period of a U.N. response effort.”

The independent probe was prompted after an Associated Press investigation found out that senior WHO management was aware of the allegations back in 2019 but failed to stop the harassment and even promoted one of the managers involved.

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