More than 50 countries warned the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday that they demanded that members of the UN organization who committed sexual abuse be prosecuted.
People who have experienced sexual exploitation, abuse or harassment must also receive appropriate support, countries said at the UN health agency’s Executive Board meeting.
WHO has been urged to act after widespread sexual abuse by aid workers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) came to light in 2020.
“We encourage WHO leadership to lead by example in these areas, including establishing clear lines of accountability,” reads the text of the joint statement.
“Complaints must be dealt with quickly and perpetrators of abuse must be held to account, so we strongly support efforts to strengthen the investigative capacity of the WHO”, adds the text.
The WHO’s executive board, made up of 34 members, is responsible for advising the World Health Assembly of member states – the Organization’s decision-making body – and implementing its decisions.