IFRC is fully committed to creating safe environments free of harm or threat to the dignity of all our colleagues and everyone we serve.
IFRC management was aware of the report and took a number of steps in response to it.
An internal review was carried out in Guinea in late 2001/early 2002. It did not find evidence of Red Cross personnel being involved in abuses.
Following this, IFRC and Guinean Red Cross developed a set of rules and regulations against sexual or other forms of abuses. These rules were applicable to all staff and volunteers in Guinea and included guidelines for reporting abuses and for assessing such reports.
In addition, the 2002 report was a contributing factor in the development of a new IFRC Code of Conduct in 2003. This Code of Conduct explicitly prohibited any sexual relationship with a person under the age of 18 (regardless of consent laws in a given country), as well as prohibiting the exchange of money, employment, goods, or services for sex, again regardless of the laws of a given country.
Responding effectively to these issues is a continuous process. IFRC policies and processes are continually reviewed and tightened. The 2003 Code of Conduct was replaced in 2007 by a new, stronger code. In addition, over the past five-six years, IFRC has developed a number of supporting policies, including in relation to Anti-Harassment, Child Protection and Whistleblower Protection.
Over the past five years, IFRC has received a small number of complaints relating to staff misconduct. We are concerned that this may not tell the whole story. We know that sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation are often underreported, and that more needs to be done to address, prevent and punish such misconduct.
It is not clear if specific allegations against IFRC/Red Cross personnel were received in 2002. We have reviewed our archives and have approached UNHCR and the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services to track down any relevant correspondence from that time.
We are currently undertaking a review going back to 2000 in a bid to identify historical incidents. This work is ongoing.
IFRC has an independent, external whistleblowing platform (“SafeCall”) that anyone can use to report violations of the Code of Conduct, including harassment, abuse and exploitation.