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Selasa, 28 September 2021

Panel identifies over 80 alleged cases of sexual abuse during World Health Organization's Ebola response in Congo - ABC News

A panel commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified more than 80 alleged cases of sexual abuse during the UN health agency's response to an Ebola outbreak in Congo.

The allegations implicate 20 WHO staff members.

The report exposes the most widescale sexual wrongdoing linked to a UN institution in years, harkening back to the dark years when blue-helmeted peacekeepers were regularly accused of and found to have misused their positions for sexual misconduct.

WHO's regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti reacted to the findings, saying she was "humbled, horrified, and heartbroken".

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the document "harrowing" reading.

A Congolese woman stands by her home in eastern Congo as part of AP's investigation into the WHO in May.
AP's May investigation into WHO's Ebola response in Congo revealed senior staff failed to act on allegations.(

AP: Kudra Maliro/File photo

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It described how "Jolianne" – said to be the youngest of the alleged victims – had recounted that a WHO driver had stopped to offer her a ride home as she sold phone cards on a roadside in Mangina,, near the Ugandan border, in April 2019.

"Instead, he took her to a hotel where she says she was raped by this person," the report said.

Malick Coulibaly, a panel member, said during a media briefing on Tuesday that there were nine allegations of rape. 

The women interviewed said the perpetrators used no birth control, resulting in some pregnancies. 

Some women said the men who had abused them forced them to have an abortion, Mr Coulibaly said.

The panel released its findings on Tuesday, months after an Associated Press investigation found senior WHO management was informed of multiple abuse claims in 2019 but failed to stop the harassment and even promoted one of the managers involved.

What WHO has done since reports went public

Dr Tedros appointed the panel's co-chairs to investigate the claims last October, after media reports claimed unnamed humanitarian officials sexually abused women during Congo's Ebola outbreak in 2018.

At the time, Dr Tedros declared he was "outraged" and vowed that any staffers connected to the abuse would be dismissed immediately.

Western diplomatic sources said four people have been fired and two placed on administrative leave, based on a closed-door briefing involving WHO that was provided to diplomatic officials in Geneva on Tuesday.

The review team was able to obtain the identity of 83 alleged perpetrators, both Congolese nationals and foreigners. 

In 21 cases, the review team was able to establish with certainty that the alleged perpetrators were WHO employees during the Ebola response.

Some of the women who say they were victimised by WHO officials said they hoped those involved would be severely punished.

AP/Reuters

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2021-09-28 15:19:23Z
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