Panel finds 80 alleged abuse cases tied to WHO’s Congo work

The panel launched its findings on Tuesday, months after an Related Press investigation discovered senior WHO administration was knowledgeable of a number of abuse claims in 2019 however did not cease the harassment and even promoted one of many managers concerned.

The report exposes essentially the most widescale sexual wrongdoing linked to a U.N. establishment in years, harkening again to the darkish years when blue-helmeted peacekeepers have been commonly accused of and located to have misused their positions for sexual misconduct.

WHO Director-Common Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus referred to as the doc “harrowing” studying, It described how “Jolianne” – stated to be the youngest of the alleged victims – had recounted {that a} WHO driver had stopped to supply her a experience dwelling as she bought cellphone playing cards on a roadside within the city of Mangina in April 2019.

“Instead, he took her to a hotel where she says she was raped by this person,” the report stated.

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WHO chief Tedros appointed the panel’s co-chairs to research the claims final October after media studies claimed unnamed humanitarian officers sexually abused ladies throughout the Ebola outbreak that started in Congo in 2018.

On the time, Tedros declared he was “outraged” and vowed that any staffers linked to the abuse could be dismissed instantly. Western diplomatic sources stated 4 individuals have been fired and two positioned on administrative depart, primarily based on a closed-door briefing involving WHO that was supplied to diplomatic officers in Geneva on Tuesday.”

The overview group was capable of acquire the id of 83 alleged perpetrators, each Congolese nationals and foreigners. In 21 circumstances, the overview group was capable of set up with certainty that the alleged perpetrators have been WHO workers throughout the Ebola response.

The AP revealed proof in Might exhibiting that Dr. Michel Yao, a senior WHO official overseeing the Congo outbreak response was knowledgeable in writing of a number of intercourse abuse allegations. Yao was later promoted and lately headed WHO’s response to the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, which resulted in June.

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WHO physician Jean-Paul Ngandu and two different company officers additionally signed a contract promising to purchase land for a younger girl Ngandu allegedly impregnated; Ngandu stated he was pressured to take action to guard WHO’s repute.

The panel stated that in its interview with Tedros, he stated he was made conscious of the intercourse abuse allegations once they have been revealed within the press and had not heard of the incident involving Ngandu till the AP revealed its story.

A few of the ladies who say they have been victimized by WHO officers stated they hoped these concerned could be severely punished.

Shekinah, a younger Congolese girl who accepted a proposal to have intercourse with WHO’s Boubacar Diallo in alternate for a job, stated she hoped he could be sanctioned by the U.N. well being company and barred from working for WHO once more.

“I would like him and other doctors who will be charged to be punished severely so that it will serve as a lesson to other untouchable doctors of the WHO,” stated Shekinah, who declined to present her final title for concern of retribution. “He has no place at WHO.”

WHO chief Tedros made 14 journeys to Congo over the past outbreak and publicly counseled Boubacar Diallo’s work. The AP spoke with three ladies who stated Diallo supplied them jobs in alternate for intercourse.

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The unbiased panel’s report decried belated coaching for staffers to stop sexual abuse or exploitation, a refusal from managers to think about circumstances that have been solely supplied verbally and never in writing, and different breakdowns and managerial shortcomings in dealing with the alleged misdeeds in 9 separate cities or villages within the area.

Julie Londo, a member of the Congolese Union of Media Girls (UCOFEM), a ladies’s group that works to counter rape and sexual abuse of ladies in Congo, applauded WHO for punishing staffers concerned within the abuse allegations however stated extra was wanted.

“WHO must also think about reparation for the women who were traumatized by the rapes and the dozens of children who were born with unwanted pregnancies as a result of the rapes,” she stated. “There are a dozen girls in Butembo and Beni who had children with doctors during the Ebola epidemic, but today others are sent back by their families because they had children with foreigners…We will continue our fight to end these abuses.”


Cheng reported from London. Jamey Keaten contributed reporting from Geneva.