Monday, 20 August, 2018

Oxfam revelations lead to more accountability for charities

Oxfam revelations lead to more accountability for charities Oxfam revelations lead to more accountability for charities
Andrew Cummings | 12 February, 2018, 01:29

According to The Observer, women were repeatedly invited "for parties" at Oxfam's team premises.

"The reports of what is unacceptable behaviour by senior aid workers in Haiti are truly shocking", a spokeswoman for Theresa May said.

Penny Mordaunt said the charity had lied to the department at the time of the staff members' dismissal by telling them no aid beneficiaries were involved in the misconduct.

"We are saddened by the accounts of deplorable behaviour from a group of individuals who have abused their power, exploited their position, and sought to subvert systems created to protect vulnerable people in Haiti", the charity stated.

More reports of misconduct have emerged since the original report in the Times.

A spokesperson for Oxfam said the organisation was deeply shocked by the new allegations, admitting the problem was "sector-wide".

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

It said it could not confirm whether it had any records about a Chad staff member dismissed in 2006, adding that staff in Chad lived under a strict curfew due to security concerns.

Numbers collected by four of Britain's leading overseas aid charities, seen by The Sunday Times, revealed that 125 allegations of sex abuse were made a year ago alone. It said significant improvements have already been made since 2011.

'We will continue to address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen, ' she said.

"We also want to satisfy ourselves that we do now have a culture of openness and transparency and that we fully learn the lessons of events in 2011", she said.

"The way this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer".

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"People knew in DfID, I raised this directly with my department at the time", she said.

"I think this is an emerging picture, there are more allegations coming out about Oxfam and other organisations..."

It confirmed asking Oxfam to urgently provide fresh information.

The charity chose to allow Mr Van Hauwermeiren to step down from his position and crucially didn't share details of the termination of contract with his new employer.

Ms Mordaunt will meet senior staff at Oxfam today and the Charity Commission has written to them, as a "matter of urgency", requesting further information.

"But I'm not apologising for the fact that Oxfam continued its work in Haiti".

The charity said it had publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced seven years ago.

MPs have warned about "predatory paedophiles" following sexual assault allegations against more than 120 workers for British leading charities.

Ms Mordaunt said she had written to all United Kingdom charities that receive aid from the Government and asked them to explain the measures they took to implement safeguarding measures. Asked if that was a lie, Mordaunt said: "Well, quite".

Ms Mordaunt replied: 'Well, quite'.

"What is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing", she said.

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