Published: Mon, February 12, 2018

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

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

The British Government announced late Friday it was reviewing all work with Oxfam amid revelations the charity's staff hired prostitutes in Haiti during a 2011 relief effort on the earthquake-hit island.

Oxfam lied and failed in its "moral leadership" in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by aid workers, the International Development Secretary has said.

It promised to release the results of its investigation "publicly and transparently".
On Saturday, Britain's charity commission said it had written to Oxfam "as a matter of urgency to request further information regarding the events in Haiti in 2011".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt will insist that charities spell out what steps they are taking on sexual misconduct among staff and confirm they have referred all concerns about specific cases and individuals to the relevant authorities.

United Kingdom officials have said that Oxfam needs to hand over all its information on the issue in order to not lose funding.

The UK-based charity is also facing fresh accusations that its workers used prostitutes in Chad in 2006, the Observer reported.

However, some went on to senior roles at other charities that were not informed of their reasons for leaving Oxfam, it was reported.

Responding to Mordaunt's comments, Oxfam's Chair of Trustees Caroline Thomson said she shared the "anger and shame that behavior like that highlighted in Haiti in 2011 happened in our organization".

Although the charity has denied covering up the alleged scandal, Christian Aid said the claims are "deplorable".

The worldwide development secretary is meeting the charity on Monday and warns it can not remain a "partner" if it fails to account for its actions, reported BBC. He continued that, "because of that the department did not escalate it to ministers, they did not tell and I was never aware of it".

The charity had shown an "absolute absence of leadership", she said.

Mordaunt said she would write to British charities working overseas demanding they declare any problems relating to the duty they have to protect their staff and the people they work with from harm and abuse - so-called "safeguarding".

That mission was also led by Mr van Hauwermeiren, who resigned from Oxfam in 2011 amid the charity's investigation into the Haiti allegations.

"They did tell the Charity Commission there was sexually inappropriate behaviour, bullying and harassment of employees, but they did not report that to us".

British charity Oxfam says it will strengthen its internal safeguards in response to allegations staff members working in Haiti following the devastating 2010 natural disaster engaged in sexual misconduct.

Ms Mordaunt said Oxfam had done "absolutely the wrong thing" by failing to inform authorities about the full details of the allegations.

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