Disturbing allegations of rampant corruption, misappropriation of tax-payer funds, abuse, and missing medical items at the UN’s World Health Organization in Damascus have been revealed.

According to whistleblowers, WHO Damascus boss Dr Akjemal Magtymova threw lavish parties that violated COVID protocols, gave gold coins as gifts to regime officials, and hired incompetent relatives of regime officials including some accused of countless human rights violations – all while doctors and medics across Syria were risking their lives to save people dying from COVID amidst a severe lack of vaccines and oxygen.

What’s worse is the WHO’s global chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus knew about the rotten culture at the heart of WHO Syria months ago. Yet Magtymova has not been removed from her position and is still receiving a director-level salary. These allegations are a prime example of an under-scrutinized UN operation in Damascus that has allowed the Assad regime to divert aid away from the people who need it most to fund its crimes against the Syrian people and enrich those loyal to it.

We must demand accountability and reform. Right now, a cholera outbreak sweeping the country has already killed at least 75 people, while Syria’s health system is still struggling from the COVID pandemic and years of systematic attacks on hospitals and medical workers by the Syrian regime. Humanitarian needs are greater than ever before and millions across Syria are reliant on aid to survive.

Sign the petition to tell the UN to clean up its act in Damascus and urge donor governments to demand transparency and accountability.

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UN in Syria: Clean up your act

To Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization; Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN; and all UN donor governments:

We are disturbed by the allegations of fraud, abuse, bribery, and misappropriation of funds at the WHO Damascus office. You must act urgently and transparently to address the corruption and abuse alleged by your WHO Syria staff and open an investigation into the politicization of aid in the UN’s operation in Syria to ensure that humanitarian and human rights principles are upheld

Donor governments must also investigate the spending of UN agencies operating in Damascus and demand their aid money is spent effectively to reach the millions of Syrians who need it most.
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