Wednesday, 21 February, 2018

Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse

A protest against the homes in Warsash held in November Campaigners hold meeting against future development plans
Glenn Montgomery | 12 February, 2018, 01:57

In a statement on Friday, Oxfam neither confirmed nor denied The Times newspaper report but said its misconduct findings had "related to offences including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct".

Women believed to be sex workers were reportedly invited to the Oxfam team house on a number of occasions.

"Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time", the Charity Commission said in a statement.

Ms Mordaunt said the charity had also "categorically" stated to the Department for International Development (DfID) that no harm was done and beneficiaries were not involved. "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, we can not have you as a partner", she said.

Oxfam said it investigated the allegations in 2011.

The global development secretary has said the government will end funding to Oxfam unless the charity shows "moral leadership" and hands over all its information on its aid workers' apparent use of prostitutes in Haiti.

During the probe, Oxfam dismissed four staff members and another three resigned, including van Hauwermeiren.

Reuters could not independently verify the allegations contained in The Times report and was unable to reach any of the Oxfam staff who worked in Haiti.

The government's hardening stance follows reports in The Times newspaper that young sex workers were hired by Oxfam's senior staff in Haiti after the 2010 natural disaster which devastated the island and left up to 300,000 people dead.

But, he did admit that whilst he was "not informed" about the allegations of sexual misconduct levelled at Oxfam, DFID "did report the matter to various regulators and to the Department of International Development" they "did not specify the nature of the allegations or the nature of the misdemeanours that had taken place".

Oxfam will examine new complaints from staff members about how the aid workers involved in 2010 were recruited and vetted.

"The reports of what is unacceptable behaviour by senior aid workers in Haiti are truly shocking", a spokeswoman for Theresa May said.

Goldring apologised yesterday and said he was 'deeply ashamed of Oxfam's behaviour [in Haiti]'.

The former Secretary of State said that "the reason why Oxfam has landed in this position is because they have not been fully open and transparent about what happened".

Oxfam, one of the world's most prominent relief agencies, could lose its funding from the British government over reports that its workers exploited survivors of a massive quake in Haiti, and possibly other disasters, for sex.

Marr said: "That was a lie, wasn't it?" The charity employs 5,000 staff and has a further 23,000 volunteers. "What is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing", she said.

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