Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe, the Director-General of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Institut National pour la Recherche Biomedical (National Institute of Biomedical Research) has called for a thorough investigation of allegations of sexual abuse and aggression against women by members of the Ebola virus ripost team in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a post on his twitter handle on Tuesday, Muyembe said: “In relation to allegations of sexual exploitation reported during the Ebola response in the East of the country, I condemn such comportment. It is important that these acts be investigated and the guilty severely punished in order to prevent such behaviour in the future.”
He added that the authors of these despicable acts should be quickly found and severely punished.
The report of an investigation carried out by the non-governmental organization (NGO), The New Humanitarian and the Thomas Reuters Foundation, revealed that more than 50 cases of exploitation and sexual abuse were found to have been committed by employees of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and certain NGOs during the Ebola epidemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Among other organisations, which workers are reported to have carried out sexual aggression against women in DR Congo, cited in the dossier, are the United Nations Children Emergency Fund, Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontieres, World Vision and Alliance for International Medical Action.
A majority of the women victims of sexual violence interviewed said male workers with these organisations made advances to them and some forced them to have sexual relations with them in exchange for employment or terminated their employment when they refused to have sex with them.