EU suspends funding of WHO’s activity in Congo following sex scandal

22:50, 28 October 2021
EU suspends funding of WHO’s activity in Congo following sex scandal

The European Comission has stopped its funding of the World health Organization’s works in Congo over the sex scandal which involved at least 80 women.

"The Commission has temporarily suspended the payments and will refrain from awarding new funding related to the humanitarian activities undertaken by WHO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This measure does not affect EU funding for WHO operations elsewhere," the Commission said in a statement. 

Currently Congo has at least five major programs including those that involve the deadly Ebola and COVID-19. All five of the programs were suspended until further notice. 

The amount of funds that was stopped from being transferred to Congo equates to over $24 million. 

This action is an attempt to put pressure on the organization's director-general Tedros Ghebreysus so he takes the scandal more seriously and launches an investigation into the matter.

"In view of the gravity of the reported situation, the Commission hereby suspends all payments relevant to the activities undertaken by your organisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo," the commission addressed Ghebreysus

The Comission demands that all those who suffered from sexual abuse recieve compensations while those guilty must be fired and never again recruited at UN organizartions. 

The funds were suspended for 30 days until the WHO presents an answer to the accusations then more 30 days will follow as the European Commission decides whether to continue sending funds or to suspend them for additional 30 days.

The scandal arose after an independent investigation showed that women hired by the UN were sexually abused and exploited during the Ebola epidemic in Congo.

Not only the European Commission but countries on their own have also spoken against the WHO’s scandal as France has urged the organization to submit an action plan which will address the issue within 10 days.

Tedros has been planning to run for another turn however considering how damaged his reputation was by the scandal he may even resign.

The crimes were committed by both national and international staff as they forced women to sleep with them in order to give them the job.

"They should be fired, stripped of their U.N. immunity and handed over to the national prosecution authorities. They've committed crimes in that country and are subject to punishments of that country," a UN official who has worked in Congo during the Ebola crisis told Reuters

"It's an endemic problem in the U.N. so it's not particular to the WHO, and so it's not particular to Tedros," he added.