GENEVA, Oct 1 (Reuters) – The head of the World Health Organization came under U.S.-led pressure from donors on Friday to act quickly on a damning report on a sexual assault scandal that has engulfed it and other aid agencies in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
More than 80 aid workers, a quarter of whom were employed by the WHO, were involved in sexual abuse and exploitation during an Ebola epidemic in eastern Congo, an independent commission said on Tuesday. read more
The probe, launched by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was prompted by an investigation last year by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and The New Humanitarian in which more than 50 women accused aid workers from the WHO and other agencies of demanding sex in exchange for jobs between 2018-2020.
The report – delayed by a month due to fresh allegations and a widening investigation – was issued a week after the period for nominating the next WHO director-general closed.
The donors urged swift action in a joint statement.
“We expect full commitment from the WHO to prevent and address such acts, including through fundamental reforms to the WHO,” the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva said on behalf of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and the European Union and its member states. read more
The countries voiced support for the WHO’s “immediate action to terminate the contracts of presumed perpetrators still in their employment” and for requiring others take administrative leave pending further investigations.
“… we urge the WHO to initiate an immediate, thorough, and detailed assessment of the institutional policies, operational processes, leadership culture, and circumstances at WHO that allowed this to happen including for cases to go unreported to WHO’s leadership and member states,” the joint statement added.
France had already urged Tedros to make good on his commitment to submit an action plan addressing the inquiry’s recommendations within 10 days … READ MORE.