UK Govt reviews Oxfam work amid Haiti prostitutes scandal

12 February, 2018, 01:41 | Author: Hope Soto
  • UN peacekeepers were withdrawn last year after reports of a child sex ring

"Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time", the Charity Commission statement said. A statement at the time by Oxfam did not mention the seven staff had left the charity for sexual misconduct.

Oxfam said some former workers may have falsified references or asked individual staff members to provide references, but said it couldn't prevent such actions.

"Of course we take that very seriously, which is why those people lost their jobs", she said. It is nearly as shocking that the most senior employee implicated in the scandal was not only allowed to resign without censure but was subsequently hired by another charity with no warning from Oxfam about his past conduct.

The married 68-year-old went on to become head of mission for another charity Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh between 2014-16.

"According to an investigation in The Times, Dame Barbara Stocking, 66, who was CEO of Oxfam at the time, offered the country director, Roland van Hauwermeiren, "a phased and dignified exit" because sacking him would have "potentially serious implications" for the charity's work and reputation".

Oxfam neither confirmed nor denied The Times newspaper report but said its misconduct findings had "related to offences including bullying, harassment, intimidation and failure to protect staff as well as sexual misconduct".

An investigation by The Times newspaper in London alleges Oxfam covered up misconduct by senior aid workers, including the then-country director Roland van Hauwermeiren.

The Charity Commission said such allegations risked undermining public trust in charities.

An investigation by The Times UK revealed that Oxfam, which receives £300 million ($414 million US dollars) in British government funds and charitable donations, let three staffers resign and fired four others for gross misconduct after an inquiry into the damning claims.

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The UK government is reviewing its relationship with the charity Oxfam in the wake of sex allegations against some of the charity's staff.

It is unclear to what extent DfID may have been made aware of the Oxfam incident back in 2011.

"The International Development Secretariat is reviewing our current work with Oxfam and has called for a meeting with its management team as soon as possible", said the spokesperson.

A DfID spokesman said: 'We often work with organisations in chaotic and hard circumstances.

Oxfam has said it launched an immediate internal investigation in 2011 which found a "culture of impunity" among some staff.

"If wrongdoing, abuse, fraud, or criminal activity occur we need to know about it immediately, in full". The organization has admitted that re were allegations that minor girls had been involved, but maintained that y were "unproven".

"But I don't think it was in anyone's best interest to be describing the details of the behaviour in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it".

On Friday, an Oxfam spokeswoman said: "The behaviour of some members of Oxfam staff uncovered in Haiti in 2011 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff".

"It is important that charities engage with the regulator frankly and openly".


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