from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE humanitarian coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has pledged solidarity with victims of sexual abuse at the hands of employees tackling the Ebola outbreak.
David Mclachlan-Karr has given the commitment, a fortnight after more than 50 women accused aid workers from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of the violations.
The reports have triggered outrage.
Mclachlan-Karr pledged his determination to ensure the respect, protection and dignity of the victims.
The envoy also renewed a personal commitment to making the eradication of sexual exploitation and abuse one of his top priorities so that humanitarian workers never again engaged in acts contrary to their mission.
“In this context, I join in the calls for independent investigations, in accordance with the zero tolerance policy of the Secretary General of the United Nations,” he said.
The sexual abuse and exploitation reports are contrary to the humanitarian community in DRC setting up in 2018 an inter-agency mechanism for the prevention of sexual abuse.
This coincided with the tenth outbreak of the Ebola, during which the violations occurred.
The outbreak in the volatile east left more than 2 000 people dead before its end was announced earlier this year.
An ongoing outbreak, announced in June, in the west has claimed the lives of more than 50 people.
Following the outbreak in the Equateur province, the inter-agency mechanism for the prevention of sexual abuse has raised awareness and trained those involved in the response.
Channels have been established to report violations.
– CAJ News