Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse

Marie Harrington
February 12, 2018

Ms Mordaunt's announcement comes as the Observer reports that Oxfam workers allegedly used prostitutes in Chad in 2006.

He said that it was very important to remember that "there are thousands of people working for Oxfam in some of the most hard places. and we must not forget that Oxfam is one of Britain's most brilliant charities".

At the time, the charity only referred to it as "serious misconduct".

She admitted she was considering whether the organisation should receive any more funding from the Department for International Development - which gave it £32m in the last financial year.

"These allegations are deeply shocking", said one official.

"With hindsight, I would much prefer that we had talked about (the) sexual misconduct", Goldring told BBC radio.

Patel added: 'I knew this was going on...

Some employees, such as Roland van Hauwermeiren, the country director in Haiti for Britain-based Oxfam until 2011, were given permission to resign without any further action being taken against them.

The magnitude 7.0 quake killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to the country's infrastructure and economy.

On Saturday the Charity Commission said that while Oxfam told the regulator it was investigating inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and staff intimidation, the charity had not given the full details.

Penny Mordaunt
Image International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has warned Oxfam could lose aid funds

Mr Van Hauwermeiren went on to work elsewhere in the sector.

Penny Mordaunt hit out at Oxfam officials who had used prostitutes while working in Haiti after the 2010 quake, dubbing their behaviour "despicable".

"The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff", a spokeswoman said in a statement.

"There are some actions I'm looking for them taking now".

It is unclear to what extent DfID may have been made aware of the Oxfam incident back in 2011.

The UK now spends £13bn on aid each year and there have always been calls from some Conservative MPs for cuts to this budget.

Caroline Thompson, who chairs Oxfam Great Britain's board of trustees, said charities that work in "fragile and unstable environments can become targets for abusers", but that the organization is committed to fixing the problems it faces.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru also agree that figure should remain.

He added: "Everybody - the 25,000 staff and volunteers - are compromised by this, the hundreds of thousands of people who support Oxfam every month are compromised by this, and to everybody I apologise".

Ms Mordaunt announced she would meet the charity on Monday to discuss the case, and said: "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there then we can not have you as a partner".

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Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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