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Aiders Took Advantage of DRC Women at Their Time of Need

A World Health Organization investigation has found that dozens of women were allegedly sexually abused and exploited by international staff and locals hired to respond to an Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The WHO appointed a five-member independent commission in October 2020 to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by its staff in Congo’s Ituri and North and South Kivu provinces. The investigation found 21 of the 83 alleged perpetrators were WHO staff, some Congolese, some from abroad. The other alleged perpetrators were contractors such as drivers and security personnel. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described the document as harrowing reading. Tedros said four WHO staff have been fired and two have been put on administrative leave. He said the alleged perpetrators of rape will be referred to national authorities in Congo for investigation. The WHO chief also said that all victims of sexual exploitation and abuse will have access to the services they need, including medical and psychosocial support, and that assistance for their children’s education will be provided.