Congo-Kinshasa: Who Director-General's Opening Remarks At the Member State Briefing On Independent Commission for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse Allegation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to all Member States, and thank you for joining us for this information session.

To be honest, it's an information session I wish we didn't have to have.

As you know, last year we became aware of allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse linked to WHO's Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

In response, WHO established an Independent Commission to conduct a thorough review of these allegations.

This is the first time in the United Nations system that an independent commission has been established to investigate allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse, providing an independent and impartial assessment.

Doing it this way takes a bit longer, but we are convinced that the results will be stronger. The idea is to do things differently.

I'm very grateful to the Commission for its work, especially the two co-chairs, Madam Aïchatou Mindaoudou and Madam Julienne Lusenge.

I would also like to thank all members of the Commission for their commitment to this critical issue.

And I also thank our Regional Director for Africa Dr Moeti for joining us today, and for her leadership and support throughout this process.

The Commission's task is to establish the facts, identify and support survivors and provide reports that will enable us to hold perpetrators to account.

I also hope this novel approach will help us to better identify the root causes and systemic weaknesses that allow sexual exploitation and abuse to happen, or that prevent us from stopping it.

Already we have taken several steps to strengthen our policies and procedures, in line with the UN system:

We're promoting a respectful workplace to prevent and respond to discrimination, abuse of authority, and harassment, including sexual harassment.

We have implemented a new policy on Preventing and Addressing Abusive Conduct, and we are taking a survivor-centred approach in the deployment of personnel, reporting mechanisms, investigations and survivor protection measures.

We're embedding dedicated focal points for the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse in all of our field operations;

And we're strengthening awareness and training programmes targeting everyone who works for or with WHO.

We will provide a full overview of this work to the Programme, Budget and Administration Committee at its meeting later this month.

I would like to reiterate that WHO is completely committed to taking whatever measures we need to take to prevent it and to protect the people we serve around the world.

I would now like to invite our Regional Director Dr Moeti to make a few remarks.

Dr Moeti, thank you once again for your leadership in this process. You have the floor.

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