Commission investigating sexual abuse allegations against WHO staff during Ebola outbreak in DR Congo receives “new critical information”, extends probe by one month

The independent commission investigating sexual abuse allegations against aid workers, including staff of the World Health Organization, during the tenth Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said on Friday that it has extended its probes by one month after receiving “new critical information.”

The Independent Commission, which was about to finalize its report expected by August 31, 2021, said in a statement that it received “new and critical information on August 15, 2021, that needs to be verified therefore requiring the continuation of investigations on the ground.”

“This new development obliges the Independent Commission to modify its timetable and to reschedule the publication of its report to September 28, 2021,” it said, pledging that it “will spare no effort to fulfill its mandate in order to prevent this type of behavior in the future and ensure that the perpetrators are held to account.”

The allegations center in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

At least 22 women have said they were sexually exploited or abused by male aid workers responding to an Ebola crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The abuses included rape that led to unwanted pregnancies.

The women said the men offered them jobs in exchange for sex and identified themselves as working for major aid organizations, including from the WHO.

At least 14 of those claims mentioned the World Health Organization. A total of seven organizations were named.

Butembo where the allegations centered on is a major trading city that was the epicenter of the 2018-2020 outbreak of Ebola. At least 2,200 lives were lost.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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