WHO Investigator Who Dismissed COVID Lab-Leak Theory Fired Over Sexual Misconduct Allegations
World Health Organization (WHO) investigator Peter Ben Embarek, who led the team that dismissed the COVID lab-leak theory, has been fired over allegations of sexual misconduct. The cases that led to his dismissal date back to 2015 and 2017, and the WHO became aware of the accusations in 2018. The WHO statement said that due process was followed and Ben Embarek’s name was entered into the UN ClearCheck screening database to prevent the hiring or re-hiring of perpetrators by UN agencies.
Ben Embarek contested the accusations of harassment and was fighting the sanctions. He can appeal his dismissal through the UN internal justice system. He declined to comment further as he and the WHO are bound by confidentiality agreements until a resolution is reached. Ben Embarek has been one of the most outspoken WHO officials concerning the origins of COVID. He represented the organization as the lead investigator during a 2021 trip to China that probed where the deadly disease came from.
The team concluded that COVID-19 most likely originated in bats before the disease was transferred to humans. They also determined a leak from a Chinese lab was “highly unlikely” despite calls from other scientists to further investigate the possibility. Ben Embarek said political pressure was placed on the team, including from outside China, although nothing in the report has been changed. He did not explain where the pressure was coming from.
The lab-leak theory has gained momentum with both the FBI and the Energy Department believing the pandemic originated in a Wuhan lab. FBI Director Christopher Wray said earlier this year that the origins of the pandemic are most likely a potential lab incident in Wuhan, adding that “you are talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab.”
The allegations against Ben Embarek highlight the importance of addressing sexual misconduct in all industries, including science and medicine. It is essential that organizations take allegations seriously and conduct thorough investigations, following due process. Perpetrators of sexual misconduct should not be allowed to continue their careers without accountability for their actions.
Ben Embarek’s dismissal also raises questions about the WHO’s handling of the COVID-19 origin investigation. The lab-leak theory continues to gain traction, and it remains to be seen whether further investigations will be conducted to determine the true origin of the pandemic. In the meantime, it is crucial that organizations prioritize transparency, accountability, and integrity in their investigations and decision-making processes.
By Mr. Antonio West