Following a damning Associated Press article reporting that the World Health Organization paid over 100 Congolese survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of its staffers a mere $250 each, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) condemns the WHO’s actions as shameful and calls on WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to personally oversee the necessary immediate actions to ensure justice and support for the women.
“We’ve seen the WHO’s mismanagement of sexual abuse allegations and misbehavior in the past – but its decision to attempt to compensate survivors, many who bore children as a result of the abuse, with a paltry $250 each is nothing short of abhorrent,” said AHF Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy Terri Ford. “What the WHO has done is absolutely unacceptable. It’s bad enough the abuses happened at all – but they were not investigated adequately, and reforms were not implemented immediately. And the survivors were abused again by meager compensation and support. Dr. Tedros, what will you do to make this right?”
According to the AP, the $250 given to each survivor is less than a single day’s expenses for some United Nations officials working in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
AHF has a long history of advocating for justice for sex abuse survivors and for decision-makers within the U.N. system to hold perpetrators accountable, dating back to the scandal at UNAIDS and its then Executive Director Michel Sidibé, who later resigned before his term ended.