Oxfam could lose funds over claims it exploited disaster victims for sex

12 February, 2018, 01:11 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Oxfam sex scandal Sacked staff found new aid job in Bangladesh

Oxfam must show "moral leadership" or lose all its Government funding, a senior minister has warned.

The U.K.'s global development secretary is set to meet with charity leadership Monday following a sexual misconduct scandal that shook the organization last week.

In the latest revelations, the Sunday Times reports more than 120 workers for Britain's leading charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year, "fuelling fears paedophiles are targeting overseas aid organisations".

Oxfam said it now had a dedicated safeguarding team, a confidential whistleblowing hotline and safeguarding contact point within countries, and a code of conduct that stipulated: "I will also not exchange money, offers of employment, employment, goods or services for sex or sexual favours".

"With regard to Oxfam and any other organization that has safeguarding issues, we expect them to cooperate fully with such authorities, and we will cease to fund any organization that does not", Mordaunt said in a statement.

Oxfam says it investigated the claims and four people were sacked.

In a further warning to the charity, she said: 'If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities, including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities, then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner'. "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, we can not have you as a partner", she said.

Ms Mordaunt called the behaviour utterly despicable and threatened to cut the charity off from Government funding if she was unsatisfied with answers from an upcoming meeting on Monday.

The Charity Commission said it had written to Oxfam as a matter of urgency to request further information and establish greater clarity.

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"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 when what we wanted to do was get on and deliver an aid programme".

Her comments come after Oxfam workers were accused of using prostitutes in Haiti following the 2010 natural disaster.

In a statement, Oxfam denied providing positive references for those implicated, and said they were likely provided on an individual capacity.

Caroline Thomson, Oxfam's chairwoman of trustees in the United Kingdom, said it was working to "address the underlying cultural issues that allowed this behaviour to happen".

"Oxfam had no formal obligation to anybody anything, this wasn't a public story, this was an internal investigation", Mr Goldring said.

She added that Oxfam had done "absolutely the wrong thing" by failing to inform authorities about the full details of the allegations.

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who has been at the centre of Haiti sex scandal, was running Oxfam's Chad operation at the time.

The charity also said it had yet to find evidence proving allegations that underage girls were involved.

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