Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Haiti's president condemns 'violation of human dignity' following Oxfam scandal

Leaders including Oxfam's chief executive Mark Goldring knew about allegations of rape and other widespread sexual misconduct according to a former worker UK charity watchdog to probe Oxfam amid sex abuse claims
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 14:03

This all happened under its nose.

On Monday Civil Society News asked the Commission if it had asked Oxfam to send the regulator its final report of the charity's investigation into the Haiti allegations in 2011.

The scandal began last week after media reported how Oxfam had covered up the use of prostitutes by senior staff after the 2010 Haiti natural disaster.

The charity confirmed it had dismissed four people and allowed three others to resign in the case after an investigation uncovered offences including sexual misconduct, bullying, intimidation and failure to protect staff.

Writing in the Telegraph, Patel said that during her time as secretary of state she had tried to ensure "accountability not just on aid effectiveness, but also the sexual abuse, not just of adults, but also the rape of children".

The commission was fooled.

Oxfam was under threat of losing its British government funding after a newspaper report said its staff paid for sex while in Haiti to help those affected by a 2010 natural disaster.

Penny Lawrence, Oxfam's deputy chief executive, resigned over the charity's response to the revelations yesterday.

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"The legal advice we received in Haiti was that given the nature of the allegations, especially with the continued upheaval and chaos post the quake, it was extremely unlikely that reporting these incidents to the police would lead to any action being taken", said in a statement. However, the issues revealed in recent days are shocking and unacceptable.

Government funding only accounted for 8 percent of Oxfam's overall income past year, its annual report shows, but donations from the public may be hit by the bad publicity, analysts said.

"As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch, and I take full responsibility".

The Times reported on February 10 that a current CAFOD employee was named as an Oxfam staff member who had been working in Haiti in 2011 and was accused of misconduct.

However, her claims were called into question less than an hour later as Ms Evans came forward with a number of claims, including that volunteers as young as 14 in Oxfam shops in the United Kingdom had alleged abuse.

The announcement comes after talks between Oxfam bosses and ministers on Monday and amid continuing criticism of the charity's response to the allegations. There were also 12 reports of inappropriate conduct with children in 2012/12 and seven in 2013/14. Combining income from public and institutional sources, 2017/18 is on course to be the second most successful year financially in the Irish charity's 45 year history, the charity has said. These measures help Oxfam better protect people from abuse, sexual harassment and exploitation, and prevent it from happening in the first place.

A top official resigned Monday after the leading global aid organization was rocked by reports of sexual misconduct by aid workers in Haiti and Chad, including an alleged "Caligula orgy" with prostitutes. The commission is obliged to ensure the inquiry's findings are put on the public record and will also ensure the actions that were demanded of Oxfam in 2017 on its safeguarding culture are properly carried out.

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