Oxfam told to show 'moral leadership' or lose government funds

Laura Christensen
February 12, 2018

An investigation by The Times alleges the charity covered up sexual misconduct by aid workers in Haiti.

Scandal-hit Oxfam recorded a staggering 87 incidents, while Save The Children and Christian Aid reported 31 and two respectively.

Mordaunt said she would also be meeting with Oxfam's representatives on Monday, adding: "I'm very clear it doesn't matter whether you've got a whistle-blowing hotline, it doesn't matter if you've got good safeguarding practices in place".

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

"With regard to Oxfam and any other organisation that has safeguarding issues, we expect them to co-operate fully with such authorities, and we will cease to fund any organisation that does not".

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.

The Charity Commission said it had written to Oxfam as a matter of urgency to request further information and establish greater clarity.

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

Speaking about the allegations, she said: "I think it's a complete betrayal of both the people Oxfam were there to help and also the people that sent them there to do that job".

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Some of Oxfam's staff allegedly hired prostitutes while in Haiti trying to help the country recover from the 2010 natural disaster.

The French charity told AFP it made pre-employment checks with Oxfam but that the UK-based organisation "did not share with us the reasons for his resignation as head of mission in Haiti or the results of its internal inquiry".

Oxfam's chief executive has denied there was any cover-up after it was revealed some of its aid workers used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011.

But she said: "Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop individuals falsifying references, getting others that were dismissed to act as referees and claiming it was a reference from Oxfam, or former or current Oxfam staff that worked with the individual providing a reference in a personal capacity".

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who has been at the centre of Haiti sex scandal, was running Oxfam's Chad operation at the time.

Former worldwide development secretary Priti Patel told BBC Radio 5 Live the Oxfam allegations had not surprised her and said it was "absolutely appalling".

Mordaunt spoke Sunday - three days after a Times of London investigation accused Oxfam's then-director in Haiti, along with other workers, of running an illegal makeshift brothel after a 2010 quake devastated the country.

Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, said the charity had lied to her department.

Mordaunt said Oxfam had told her department "categorically no" when it had asked if any beneficiaries of aid had been involved in or affected by the misconduct.

Other reports by My Hot News

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