WHO paid compensation money to sexual abuse victims in Congo
WHO paid compensation money to sexual abuse victims in Congo Euronews
World Health Organisation Pays Victims of Sexual Abuse During Ebola Outbreak in Congo
Internal documents reveal that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has compensated victims of sexual abuse in Congo during the Ebola outbreak. The victims were required to undergo a training course in order to receive the payment of $250. This incident marks the largest sex scandal in the history of the UN health agency.
Addressing the Scandal
Earlier this year, Dr Gaya Gamhewage, the leader of WHO’s efforts to prevent sexual abuse, travelled to Congo to address the scandal. During her trip, she met with one of the abused women who had given birth to a baby with special medical needs. This added further financial burden to the young mother in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Compensation for Victims
In an attempt to assist victims, WHO has provided $250 to at least 104 women in Congo who reported being sexually abused or exploited by officials involved in Ebola prevention efforts. However, this amount is significantly less than what some UN officials receive in a single day and only covers living expenses for less than four months. In a country where many people survive on less than $2.15 a day, this compensation is inadequate.
Training Courses and Reparations
In order to receive the cash compensation, the victims were required to complete training courses aimed at helping them start income-generating activities. This approach appears to be an attempt to bypass the UN’s policy of not providing reparations. The payments are included as part of a “complete package” of support.
Challenges and Support
Despite these efforts, many Congolese women who were sexually abused have not received any compensation. WHO reported that about a third of the known victims were impossible to locate, and nearly a dozen women declined the offer. The total amount provided to the victims, $26,000, is only 1% of the $2 million survivor assistance fund created by WHO for victims of sexual misconduct, primarily in Congo.
While the compensation received by the victims is insufficient, they expressed a greater desire for justice. Paula Donovan, co-director of the Code Blue campaign, criticized the WHO’s approach, describing it as “perverse.” She emphasized that providing compensation for sexual assault or crimes resulting in the birth of a child is unacceptable.
Dr Gaya Gamhewage acknowledged that more needs to be done and stated that WHO would directly ask survivors what further support they require. The organization has also assisted with medical costs for 17 children born as a result of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Despite some individual cases where compensation was negotiated, other women who claim to have been sexually exploited by WHO staff believe that the organization has not done enough to address their grievances.
SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?
- SDG 5: Gender Equality
- SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?
- SDG 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
- SDG 16.6: Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels.
3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?
The article does not explicitly mention any indicators to measure progress towards the identified targets. However, the following indicators could be relevant:
- Number of reported cases of sexual abuse and exploitation
- Percentage of victims who receive appropriate support and compensation
- Percentage of victims who have access to justice and see perpetrators held accountable
Table: SDGs, Targets, and Indicators
|SDG 5: Gender Equality||Target 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.||
|SDG 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions||Target 16.6: Develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions at all levels.||
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