WHO/UN to "probe" widespread sexual abuse in DR Congo

We haven’t seen any new stories about widespread sexual abuse and pedophilia accusations against “relief workers” from various United Nations agencies in a while now. Perhaps that’s because the entire planet’s media has been a bit obsessed with other things of late. But according to a recent report from the BBC, that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been going on. The World Health Organization, a specialized agency under the umbrella of the UN, has been busy fighting a different sort of viral outbreak, Ebola in this case, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa for the past two years. While they’ve had some success in treating victims, the current report indicates that far too many of their workers, including some of the doctors, have allegedly been using their assignments as an opportunity to prey on vulnerable women and children. It’s far too reminiscent of the charges previously leveled against the organization which the UN said they would have “zero tolerance” of going forward. The usual reader cautions about disturbing content apply.


WHO and other aid agency staff were accused by 50 women in a joint investigation by two news agencies.

Local women were allegedly plied with drinks, “ambushed” in hospitals, forced to have sex, and two became pregnant.

The allegations cover the period between 2018 and March this year.

The New Humanitarian news agency and the Thomson Reuters Foundation have carried out an almost year-long investigation.

The investigation turned up fifty women and young girls who accused the WHO/UN staffers of sexual assault and coercion. And that’s just the ones they could convince to come forward with their stories. One 32-year-old Ebola survivor told reporters of how she was invited by her doctor to come to a hotel for “counseling.” She was offered a free soft drink while she waited. She woke up hours later, naked in a hotel room with physical evidence that she’d been raped while unconscious.

Multiple women described how they had applied for jobs with the agencies involved and were told that having sex with the person who interviewed them was part of the conditions of employment. Having no other employment opportunities on the horizon, many of them complied. One simply described a situation where “the practice of men demanding sex had become so common that it was the only way to get a job.” Similar stories abound and the number of victims who were too fearful to speak up will likely never be known.

This is all part of a repeating pattern. As you may recall, previous reports identified well-organized rings of pedophiles who applied for jobs with UN peacekeeping forces or relief agencies so they could molest children.These agencies, primarily working in third world nations, were described as being rife with sexual assault and harassment claims. Previous investigations found that these international relief charities have an institutionalized pedophilia problem.


Based on the findings of the BBC’s investigation, that “zero tolerance” policy wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. And we rarely hear of anyone actually being convicted of a crime in these incidents. Even in this investigation, all the WHO would say in response was that anyone found to be involved “will be held to account and face serious consequences, including immediate dismissal.”

‘Immediate dismissal?’ How about immediate arrest? Surely there’s some form of local law enforcement agency or even international enforcement avenue that could deal with these incidents as criminal cases. If all you do is dismiss them, they’re probably just going to apply for jobs with a different “charitable” group in a different country and go right back to their old patterns of criminal conduct.

The entire UN is a mess on the best of days, or at least so it seems at times. And we’ve seen far, far too many of these stories over the years to simply write them off as isolated incidents or bad apples. Obviously not every doctor, nurse or aid worker who volunteers to go help people in these desperate situations is a monster. I would hope the majority do it for the right reasons. But they clearly have many monsters among them and the top leadership at the United Nations is either unwilling or unable to put an end to these horrific abuses of power and authority.

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