“Dr. Temo Waqanivalu has been dismissed from WHO following findings of sexual misconduct in opposition to him and corresponding disciplinary course of,” WHO spokesperson Marcia Poole mentioned in a electronic mail to the AP early Tuesday.
“Sexual misconduct of any sort by anybody working for WHO — be it as employees, advisor, accomplice — is unacceptable,” she added.
In January, the AP reported that Waqanivalu had been accused of sexually assaulting a lady at a Berlin convention in October and was flagged to senior WHO administrators years in the past for allegedly harassing one other staffer.
The sooner allegation didn’t lead to any important penalties for Waqanivalu, who headed a small crew in WHO’s noncommunicable ailments division and had been making ready to run for regional director of the Western Pacific.
In response to confidential paperwork obtained by the AP, senior WHO administrators had been knowledgeable of a sexual harassment allegation made in opposition to Waqanivalu in 2018. The accuser was later knowledgeable that pursuing a proper investigation may not be the best choice for her.
Waqanivalu was later given an off-the-cuff warning that didn’t cite the girl who made the declare or his particular habits.
In interviews with WHO investigators, Waqanivalu “categorically” denied he had ever sexually assaulted anybody. He declined to remark to the AP.
In recent times, WHO has been tormented by quite a few studies of misconduct. In Could 2021, the AP reported that senior managers had been knowledgeable of intercourse abuse allegations throughout an Ebola outbreak in Congo however did little to cease it. A WHO-appointed panel later discovered that some 21 employees members had been accused of sexually abusing individuals throughout that outbreak, amongst a complete of 83 alleged perpetrators related to the 2018-2020 mission.
The Western Pacific regional director that Waqanivalu was in search of to switch at WHO was placed on go away in August, months after the AP reported that numerous staffers had accused him of racist and abusive habits that compromised the U.N. company’s response to COVID-19.
Final month, WHO Director-Basic Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an email to employees that the appointment of the regional director, Dr. Takeshi Kasai, had been terminated after an inner investigation resulted in “findings of misconduct.”
WHO says it has stepped up efforts to fight sexual exploitation and abuse, together with by way of the appointment of an official who reports directly to Tedros on the difficulty. The reforms are supposed to make sure there’s “no impunity” for sexual misconduct and “no tolerance for inaction,” company spokesperson Poole mentioned.
She mentioned that WHO encourages all individuals affected by sexual misconduct to return ahead by way of “confidential reporting mechanisms.” Case information will probably be handed over to nationwide authorities “for felony prosecution” as WHO receives the consent of survivors, Poole mentioned.