Aid agency Oxfam hit by new report of sex abuse

15 February, 2018, 02:09 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Tim Hunter

Meanwhile, actress Minnie Driver has become the first celebrity to quit as an Oxfam ambassador following the Haiti revelations.

Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling Tuesday after fresh claims of sexual assault and cover-up in South Sudan, as Haiti's president condemned the behaviour of some of its staff in his country as "undignified and dishonest".

FOLLOWING REVELATIONS of abuse allegations and a subsequent cover-up by global aid charity Oxfam, worldwide development minister Alasdair Allan has written to Scotland-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working overseas to stress a zero tolerance policy on abuse or misconduct.

European Union officials in Brussels echoed London's threat, threatening to cut more than $40 million in aid to Oxfam.

The allegations revolve around Roland van Hauwermeiren, who was Oxfam's country director for Haitiand was previously the head of the charity's mission in Chad.

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Oxfam Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence resigned from her position on Monday, taking " full responsibility" for the scandal.

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that some Oxfam staff paid for sex with prostitutes in Haiti after the country's 2010 quake.

The charity's former official who was in charge of safeguarding employees, volunteers and recipients, Helen Evans, accused senior leaders of ignoring evidence that teenage volunteers in its British shops had been abused and staff overseas traded sex for aid, The Telegraph reported.

The 48-year-old later tweeted: "All I can tell you about this bad revelation about Oxfam is that I am devastated".

In its last financial year Oxfam received 32 million pounds ($44 million) from Britain's aid ministry, about 8 percent of its overall income. This epidemic is rooted in the unequal power relationships that enable powerful and predatory men to exploit women and children through bullying, sexual harassment and outright violence.

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International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said she would "not hesitate" to cut government funding to charities that failed to put robust safeguarding measures in place.

"As an organisation, we are ashamed by the actions of some of our staff and are more committed now than ever to learn from our mistakes and ensure we uphold the highest levels of safeguarding standards in our work around the world".

One of the UK's biggest charities, Oxfam was the subject of a report in the Times newspaper last week.

She said: "The recent revelations about Oxfam - not exclusively the actions perpetrated by a number of those staff, but the way the organisations responded to those events, should be a wake-up call to the sector".

"I am very anxious that the activities that were undertaken in Haiti will lead people to believe that Oxfam is less of an organisation than what I know it to be".

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