We at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are gravely concerned about the recent allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by personnel employed by international organizations and relief agencies in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
We are in contact with the appropriate officials to request additional information about these allegations and the steps the organizations named in press reports are taking to investigate and respond to the incidents and address them in a survivor-centered manner. We do not know yet if the allegations directly implicate our funding.
USAID and the rest of the U.S. Government take this issue very seriously. Along with the United Nations and other donors, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual exploitation, abuse, and trafficking in persons, because one case is too many. We must work constantly to improve the culture of the entire aid sector, so everyone accepts his or her personal responsibility to promote and uphold the safety and dignity of those whom we serve, members of their communities, and our fellow aid and development workers.
In keeping with the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity, we are committed to stopping the current Ebola outbreak in Équateur Province, and to working together with Congolese authorities to ensure the response to the disease meets the highest standards of conduct and transparency and probity in the use of funds.