DRC: WHO creates independent body to investigate Ebola sex abuse claims


The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a seven-person independent commission to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by aid workers during the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

More than 50 women accused aid workers from the WHO and major charities demanding sexual acts in exchange for jobs during the outbreak. Many of the womens’ accounts were backed up by agency members and local NGO workers. Leading the WHO inquiry is Niger’s former minister of foreign affairs and social development, Aichatou Mindaoudou, and Congolese human rights activist, Julienne Lusenge.

WHO names independent investigation panel

Aichatou Mindaoudou, a former Nigerian minister, has also been a UN special representative to Ivory Coast and Darfur. Human rights activist, Julienne Lusenge, is known for her work in the DRC, advocating for victims of sexual violence in the east of the country and she is the co-founder and president of Female Solidarity for Integrated Peace and Development (SOFEPADI), a Congolese women’s rights group that supports survivors of sexual violence.

As the two co-chairs of the independent investigation commission, Lusenge and Mindaoudou will choose up to five other people with expertise in sexual exploitation and abuse investigations to help them establish the facts behind the abuse claims.

The WHO will also hire an independent external organisation to conduct the inquiry on its behalf and support the commission’s work.

Featured image: By Font: Adrian FrutigerLogotype: The World Health Organization – File:World Health Organization Logo.svg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=82170462

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.