Friday, 19 October, 2018

Fallout From Oxfam's Haiti Sexual Abuse Scandal Keeps Growing

Image credit @wmarybeard via Twitter Image credit @wmarybeard via Twitter
Faye Gross | 20 February, 2018, 19:09

Made public earlier in the day, Oxfam's 2011 report into the behavior of aid workers sent to Haiti following a devastating natural disaster revealed that a former top official admitted to paying for sex and that three staff physically threatened a witness.

On Monday Oxfam released a 2011 internal report documenting accusations against Roland Van Hauwermeiren, who ran the aid body's operation in Haiti at the time.

The BBC has discovered that one of the staff dismissed from Oxfam for gross misconduct in Haiti was Raphael Mutiku, a Kenyan aid worker based outside the capital Nairobi.

Last week, Oxfam unveiled an action plan to tackle sexual harassment and abuse, including creating a new vetting system for staff, and has urged victims to come forward with any new allegations. "During the interview the CD admitted to using prostitutes in his OGB (Oxfam Great Britain) residence", the report said, referring to the country director, reports AFP.

Mr Fleurant said the government wanted all charities operating in Haiti to reveal more about sexual misconduct by their missions in the country.

ReutersOxfam is being threatened with having its government funding cut as a result of the scandal.

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring apologised on Tuesday for saying a wave of condemnation of the charity over sex abuse by its staff was disproportionate as it had not "murdered babies in their cots". Oxfam has faced increasing worldwide pressure after media reports revealed earlier this month that during a humanitarian mission in Haiti in 2011, the charity's country director Roland van Hauwermeiren hired prostitutes at a villa paid for by the organisation.

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"We are making this exceptional publication because we want to be as transparent as possible about the decisions we made during this particular investigation and in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused", the charity said in a statement.

"We will not work with anybody who does not meet the high standards that we set", May added during a visit to a London school. Ticehurst said he had shared the report and expressed "our shame and apologies to the Haitian government and to the Haitian people".

Oxfam denies covering up the findings of its internal inquiry.

Save the Children is facing its own problems after claims this weekend that one staff member drunkenly harassed a female colleague in 2015, holding her by the throat. When the scandal initially broke there were suggestions that some of the prostitutes used by Oxfam staff may have been under 18.

Van Hauwermeiren says he told Oxfam he had "intimate relations" three times at his house with "an honorable, mature woman, who was not an quake victim nor a prostitute".

"The complaint related to events in late 2017 and was made by an individual who was not involved in 2010".

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