W.H.O. identifies candidates to lead probe into sex abuse reports in DR Congo

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, March 2, 2020. More than $1.1 trillion was wiped off the value of developing-nation stocks and bonds last week as the economic impact of the coronavirus worsened. Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). (Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that individuals had been shortlisted to lead an investigation into reports of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse by people who identified themselves as working for the W.H.O. in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ghebreyesus, who made the remarks on Monday at an Executive Board meeting, did not give further details on the individuals or the process.

“We have identified a list of outstanding candidates about leading this investigation, and I will have more news soon,” he said.

“I wish to be very clear: we hold ourselves to the highest standards and the behavior described in these reports is appalling and unacceptable.”

“We are totally committed to accountability, both for the results we deliver and for our conduct.”

Reuters News agency had earlier reported that more than 50 women had accused aid workers from the organistion and leading charities of sexual exploitation and abuse during the fight against the Ebola outbreak.

Ghebreyesus ordered an urgent investigation into the allegations adding that anyone who was found to be involved will face serious consequences including an immediate dismissal.

The W.H.O. also instituted broader protection issues in health emergency response settings.

In June, the DR Congo announced the end of the two-year Ebola outbreak, the second-largest one since the virus was first identified in 1976, which killed more than 2,200 people.