The international NGO SOS Children's Villages announced Thursday, May 6, to investigate cases of violence, particularly sexual violence, and fraud committed in the 1990s in around twenty of its structures.
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Elisabeth Hauser, its director general, revealed "
cases of serious violation of child protection and mismanagement in certain countries of Africa and Asia
", in a statement released from the headquarters in Vienna, saying "
There are obvious weaknesses in our organization and accusations that leaders of SOS Children's Villages were aware of certain incidents but did not take action,
" she added.
According to a spokesperson, "
" has been reported, while whistleblowers have been "
" and the word of minors "
A child banned from visiting his parents
For example, Elisabeth Hauser brought up to the press the case of a child placed in solitary confinement and subject to a ban on visiting his own parents, because of poor school results. Regarding the inappropriate management of funds, the director mentioned calls for tenders for works won by relatives of officials of SOS Children's Villages. The association, which launched an initial internal review three years ago and ordered a further investigation in November 2020, has now set up an independent commission intended to shed light on these events by the end of 2022. It plans to compensate the victims, whose number is not specified, with a fund of "
several million euros
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Founded after the Second World War in Austria, the NGO, today present in 137 countries where it manages around 550 charitable structures and has 40,000 employees, supports 1.2 million orphans or children in need through the world.
In 2014, she had already faced accusations of child abuse in Austria, during a period from the 1950s to the 1990s.