Minnie Driver quits as Oxfam ambassador over charity sex scandal

14 February, 2018, 19:19 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Tim Hunter

Actress Minnie Driver has become the first celebrity to step away from Oxfam International following a sexual misconduct scandal swirling around the human rights charity.

The British Government said Sunday it is warning all charities that receive United Kingdom aid to step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face having their funding cut, amid further fallout from a prostitution scandal involving Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011.

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.

However, she added that the "abhorrent mistakes of a troubling organization" would not stop her in her charity work.

In response to this scandal, Oxfam claims to have already conducted its own investigation into the case in 2011, following which four of these employees were sanctioned and three others preferred to resign, including its Country director, Belgian Roland van Hauwermeiren, who was regularly receiving prostitutes in his villa.

"Charities and dedicated, hard-working aid workers undertake vital, lifesaving work in some of the most hard circumstances across the world", the commission's deputy chief executive David Holdsworth said.

Ms Mordaunt is due to give a speech to representatives from worldwide aid agencies and ministers from over 20 countries at the Agenda 2030 for Children: End Violence Solutions Summit.

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In an official statement last week, an Oxfam spokesperson said: "Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result".

"Her decision to step down as an Oxfam Ambassador saddens us deeply, but we also understand and respect her choice".

Its deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, resigned on Monday over the scandal, which grew to include allegations in other countries where Oxfam worked, including the UK. The European Commission has also said it could cut off its funding for Oxfam which stands at around 68 million euros ($84 million) a year. 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.

Even in this time of #MeToo revelations, allegations of misconduct against seven former aid workers with Oxfam Great Britain are particularly shocking.

"Unless you safeguard everyone your organisation comes into contact with, including beneficiaries, staff and volunteers, we will not fund you", Mordaunt told a conference attended by representatives of development agencies in Stockholm.

Oxfam told Express.co.uk it expects to see even more reports in the future, before the situation stabilises.

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