The investigation was opened after The New Humanitarian, a Geneva-based nonprofit news organization, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, published in September 2020 the results of a year-long investigation in which 30 of 51 Women interviewed reported exploitation by men identified as working for WHO. on the Ebola epidemic from 2018.
Reports of exploitation and abuse have brought new scrutiny to the United Nations struggles against the decades-old problem of sexual exploitation by peacekeepers, which has surfaced in the conflicts in Bosnia in the 1990s and more recent emergencies in places like the Central African Republic and Haiti. .
The 51 women interviewed all told investigating journalists that they had been pressured to have sex with staff from WHO and other international aid organizations as well as Congo’s health ministry. They came under pressure when looking for work and, on occasion, the men terminated the contracts of those who refused, the women said.
Eight women said they were exploited by employees of the Ministry of Health. Others reported meeting with men from charitable groups such as World Vision, UNICEF and the medical organization ALIMA.
Dr Tedros was only made aware of the allegations when they came to light in the media, according to the report. At a press conference on Tuesday for the report’s release, he was asked if, due to the seriousness of the allegations and because he oversaw the response to the outbreak and was on site on several occasions, he would consider to resign.
“This question was not raised with me,” he said. “I probably should have asked questions. And the next steps, what we do, is we need to ask questions.
Dr Tedros said the agency was “taking immediate action” to determine why the organization failed to detect and stop the abuse.