Monday, 25 June, 2018

Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse

Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse Oxfam vows shake-up after Haiti sex abuse
Ellis Copeland | 12 February, 2018, 01:13

The charity's chief executive Paul Goldring will meet Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, on Monday after she threatened to withdraw millions of pounds of government funding.

Oxfam has growing faced criticism over the way it handled the sexual misconduct claims against some staff in Haiti in 2011.

She added she was writing to all United Kingdom charities which receive United Kingdom aid asking them to spell out the steps they are taking to ensure safeguarding policies are in place and working properly. She added: "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, then we cannot have you as a partner".

Britain's International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned today Oxfam must hand over to authorities any information it has collected on a "shocking" staff prostitution scandal in Haiti or face repercussions.

The Times' report was based on sources familiar with the organization's work in Haiti around that time as well as a report summarizing an internal Oxfam investigation into the allegations.

However, some went on to senior roles at other charities that were not informed of their reasons for leaving Oxfam, it was reported. Oxfam had no immediate response to Mordaunt's comments.

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring apologised on Saturday, saying he was deeply ashamed of Oxfam's behaviour.

"Through their unacceptable actions, they have undermined the vital, effective and life-changing work carried out by Oxfam, as well as by other aid and humanitarian organisations worldwide".

She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: I am affording them the opportunity to tell me in person what they did after these events and I'm going to be looking to see if they are displaying the moral leadership that I think they need to now.

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

The apology comes as the Department of global development, which past year gave Oxfam more than £30 million, said it will review whether or not to continue to fund the charity.

The charity said allegations that under-age girls may have been involved were not proven.

"Sexual abuse is a blight on society and Oxfam is not immune", Thomson said.

She added: "They did absolutely the wrong thing".

"There has been in my view, not just a cover-up with Oxfam, there is a denial, a culture of denial in the aid sector about the exploitation and sexual abuse that has taken place historically for decades", she said.

But foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said she was concerned that the scandal could lead to fewer donations to charities which would ultimately affect those in "acute distress".

An investigation by the Times newspaper found the charity had sacked four people for gross misconduct and allowed three to resign over allegations that charity workers had invited groups of young prostitutes to sex "parties" at their guesthouse.

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