UK govt to meet Oxfam Monday over Haiti prostitutes probe

Katrina Barker
February 12, 2018

The charity Oxfam is on the brink of losing all of its government funding.

The International Development Secretary will meet Oxfam bosses for showdown talks Monday after accusing the beleaguered charity of lying and failing in its "moral leadership" over the Haiti sex scandal.

"If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation. then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner - and any other organisation in those circumstances", she told the BBC. Priti Patel, the former worldwide development secretary, revealed that more than 300 people in the wider aid sector had been accused of sexual abuse in the past year alone.

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

The scandal deepened on Sunday when The Observer newspaper claimed sex workers were also used during a 2011 relief mission in Chad.

In further revelations Friday, the paper said Oxfam failed to warn other aid agencies about the staff involved, which allowed them to get jobs among vulnerable people in other disaster areas.

Ms Mordaunt told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that the failure to pass on information to relevant authorities shows an "absolute absence of leadership".

Oxfam will examine new complaints from staff members about how the aid workers involved in 2010 were recruited and vetted.

He said the department acknowledged that hundreds of Oxfam staff had done nothing wrong, "but the handling by the senior team about this investigation and their openness with us and the charity commission showed a lack of judgement".

The Cabinet minister announced she will meet with the British-based charity's leadership tomorrow as it continues to reel from accusations it covered up the episode in 2011.

"We want to see Oxfam provide all the evidence they hold of the events to the Charity Commission for a full and urgent investigation of these very serious allegations".

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

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".

The charity added it will soon deliver a "safeguarding training course for faith organisations, especially churches, so they can understand, recognise and respond to safeguarding issues, and develop a safer culture".

In a statement, Oxfam denied providing positive references for those implicated.

Four members of Oxfam staff were dismissed and three, including the country director, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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