Note: This report was produced by the Independent Commission on Allegations of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse during the Response to the 10th Ebola Outbreak in DRC. The views and conclusions presented in the report are those of the Independent Commission and they have not been verified or vetted by WHO.
The World Health Organization (WHO) played a central role in the international response to the tenth outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between August 2018 and June 2020. During this period, 3481 people were infected with the haemorrhagic fever known as Ebola and 2299 people died. This Ebola outbreak in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, the second largest Ebola outbreak on record, was declared over on 25 June 2020.
In response to press reports of alleged sexual exploitation and abuse by WHO staff in the response to the tenth Ebola outbreak , WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus has announced the establishment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.
The objective of the Independent Commission is to conduct an impartial, independent and comprehensive review of the facts regarding allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse during the 10th response, to identify victims and any weaknesses in the current system within the organisation in order to propose measures to prevent such behaviour in the future and, most importantly, to ensure that perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse are held accountable for their actions.
To carry out its mandate, the Independent Commission recruited a review team - responsible for the technical aspect of the investigations - through a competitive tender process and was assisted by a Secretariat in its day-to-day operation.
First, the Independent Commission will explain the methodology used before returning to the context of the response to the tenth Ebola epidemic. It will then share the results of its investigations in relation to both axis 1 and axis 2 of its mandate.