Congo – Independent investigators appointed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by WHO employees in the Democratic Republic of Congo presented a report Tuesday that found “clear structural faults” and “individual irresponsibility.”
The crimes were committed by locals as well as members of foreign teams in the country fighting an Ebola outbreak from 2018 to 2020. The commission heard from a number of women who had been raped or who had been given work in exchange for sex.
“The scale of sexual exploitation and abuse in the response to the 10th Ebola outbreak, all of which contributed to the increased vulnerability of ‘alleged victims’ who were not provided with the necessary support and assistance required for such degrading experiences,” according to the 35-page report. At a press conference on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the report “reads horribly. ” As WHO leadership, we apologize to these people, especially the women and girls, “said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa’s regional director.
The special panel was accused of “individual incompetence that may amount to professional misconduct,” according to the research. According to the report, it also uncovered “clear institutional flaws and unpreparedness to regulate the risks of occurrences of sexual exploitation and abuse” in the impoverished central African country. According to investigators, the alleged victims had a “perception of impunity on the part of the staff of the institution.