Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Kristi Paul

Oxfam condemns staff over sex reports in earthquake-hit Haiti

Oxfam condemns staff over sex reports in earthquake-hit Haiti

Oxfam said Friday the behaviour in Haiti was "totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff".

Oxfam, one of the biggest charities in Britain, Australia and other parts of the world, has condemned the behaviour of some former staff after a newspaper report said aid workers had paid for sex orgies while on a mission in Haiti to help those affected by the devastating 2010 quake. The charity had shown an "absolute absence of leadership", she said.

Oxfam has said it was "dismayed by what happened" and has since set up a hotline for people to report sexual abuse and misconduct.

The charity's chief executive Paul Goldring will meet Penny Mordaunt, the global development secretary, on Monday after she threatened to withdraw millions of pounds of government funding.

The number of cases was "just the tip of the iceberg" as she claimed a "culture of denial" had grown across the sector.

The British government is reviewing its relationship with Oxfam amid a deepening sexual misconduct scandal involving some of the charity's employees working in Haiti after its devastating 2010 natural disaster.

The Charity Commission took no further action at the time but says it would have acted differently had it known all the facts.

Ms Mordaunt replaced Ms Patel in November, when the latter was forced to resign over secret meetings she held with Israeli officials. "The lack of accountability meant some aid workers had been able to move on to other agencies".

Former Oxfam staff in Chad told the paper that "women believed to be prostitutes were repeatedly invited to the Oxfam team house there", and a senior staff member was sacked for his behaviour in 2006.

"The horrific behaviour by some members of Oxfam staff in Haiti in 2011 is an example of a wider issue on which DFID is already taking action, both at home and with the global community via the United Nations".

Caroline Thompson, who chairs Oxfam Great Britain's board of trustees, said charities that work in "fragile and unstable environments can become targets for abusers", but that the organization is committed to fixing the problems it faces.

Oxfam said it was "shocked and dismayed" by the new Chad claims.

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