83 aid workers charged with fighting Ebola used their positions to sexually abuse and exploit women and girls during the 2018–2020 outbreak in the DRC, according to an independent commission report released yesterday.
21 WHO employees are among the accused, Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
- The victims’ ranged from age 13–43
- 9 allegations of rape were reported
- Many perpetrators refused to use condoms
- 29 women became pregnant; abusers forced some to have abortions
The findings make for “harrowing reading,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He promised to hold perpetrators to account and deploy “wholesale reform of our structures and culture” at the agency.
The probe was spurred by a Thomson Reuters Foundation/New Humanitarian investigation in which 50+ women accused aid workers—both local and international—of demanding sex in return for jobs or promotions.
Senior WHO management were reportedly aware of abuse claims but failed to intervene—and even promoted some of those involved, The Guardian reports.
Unclear: Tedros said the rape allegations will be referred to DRC and the countries of the alleged perpetrators; it’s not yet known whether the perpetrators will be prosecuted.