The United Nations is investigating allegations of sexual abuse in the humanitarian response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a UN spokesman said on Friday.
“The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services is currently reviewing these allegations,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Because the investigative work is ongoing, we will not comment further on these critical efforts.”
“The secretary-general is unwavering in his determination to stamp out sexual exploitation and abuse. The policy of the organization is zero tolerance, and we will pursue all allegations whenever they arise,” Haq told a regular press briefing.
In all such inquiries and investigations, the victim’s rights and needs must be paramount. All victims identified are receiving support, said Haq.
“The UN is committed to ending and preventing sexual abuse and exploitation everywhere, including in humanitarian settings, and we will continue to press for a victim-centered approach and punishment of perpetrators.”
Haq told Xinhua that the investigation continues into allegations last September of mostly men identifying themselves as UN humanitarian workers.