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WHO to investigate alleged racism and misconduct

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

THE WORLD Health Organization (WHO) will be conducting an internal investigation into allegations of racism, sexism and misconduct at the United Nations agency.

The investigation has been ordered by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday (Jan 17) that it was due to a series of allegations laid out in a trail of anonymous emails.

According to AP, The first email, which was sent April 2017, claimed there was “systematic racial discrimination against Africans at WHO” and that African staffers were being “abused, sworn at (and) shown contempt to” by their Geneva-based colleagues.

Two further emails sent to WHO directors stated that senior officials were “attempting to stifle” investigations into such problems and also alleged other instances of wrongdoing, including allegedly misspent Ebola funds.

The last email, sent in December, labeled the behavior of a senior doctor helping to lead the response against Ebola as “unacceptable, unprofessional and racist,” citing a November incident at a meeting where the doctor reportedly “humiliated, disgraced and belittled” a subordinate from the Middle East.

Mr Adhanom Ghebreyesus has instructed David Webb, the director of WHO's office of internal oversight, to conduct an investigation into the claims.

It is reported that he and his team will investigate those claims as well as 150 others that have been reported to his office in the past year.

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