British Government inquiry into Oxfam scandal gets underway
British Government inquiry into Oxfam scandal gets underway
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16 February, 2018, 22:48
The EU also threatened to strip Oxfam of its £40million a year funding to the charity - a tenth of its total annual income. The Commission ruled that the agency's internal handling of the incident had been sufficient. "It is now clear that these allegations - involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behavior of both the Country Director and members of his team in Chad - were raised before he moved to Haiti". It said that the opening of the inquiry is in line with the regulator's duty to promote public trust and confidence in charities. "It can not be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged", the report was quoted as saying. The Minister had earlier met with senior staff from Oxfam to discuss the allegations and Oxfam's actions, and to examine documentary evidence regarding the process.
The commission opened the statutory inquiry after examining documents regarding allegations of misconduct by staff involved in Oxfam's humanitarian response in Haiti in 2011.
"We are horrified by recent reports relating to Haiti".
An hour before she was due to present the report to top management, she says she was told that while the allegations were serious, the charity's leadership felt there was nothing more it could do and the meeting was canceled.
Before the organisation ever sent Roland van Hauwermeiren to be country director for Haiti - where he turned a villa rented by Oxfam into a brothel, sexually exploiting minors - officials knew of similar conduct by him and other Oxfam staffers in Chad.
Mordaunt threatened to end government funding to Oxfam, and the charity also risks losing its European Union funds, according to the Guardian.
She also wrote to all United Kingdom charities working overseas to insist they give her specific assurances that they have reported everything untoward to the relevant authorities. We fully support them in this and will work to ensure the whole sector is strengthened as a result.
It comes as the charity's former head of safeguarding Helen Evans revealed teen charity shop volunteers had been abused but the claims were covered up.
Evans said she resigned in 2015 because her allegations were not being treated seriously.
Separately, Bocchit Edmond, Haiti's ambassador to the United Kingdom, said his country is "shocked and appalled" at the charity for allowing senior staff to leave the country without being investigated by local police.
The Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service is in the process of reviewing Christian Aid's own safeguarding policies and will be training managers on the issue, the charity's statement said.
A spokesperson for the British Red Cross said that there had been no dismissals of its staff working overseas for reasons relating to sexual harassment, abuse or paedophilia in the past five years.
"Trócaire has a zero-tolerance approach to sexual exploitation and abuse of any person", said Niamh McCarthy, the agency's communications officer. Their actions have also undermined trust in aid work in general, the charity warned.
Mordaunt confirmed that a new unit had been set up within the department to review safeguarding across all parts of the aid sector, including United Kingdom and global charities, suppliers, the UN and other multilateral organisations.
The commission also announced that there will be a summit on safeguarding in the coming weeks to pave the way for a larger conference.
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