Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Oxfam boss apologises over abuse of Haiti quake victims

Oxfam boss apologises over abuse of Haiti quake victims Oxfam boss apologises over abuse of Haiti quake victims
Melinda Barton | 23 February, 2018, 06:35

Aid group Oxfam Great Britain will be suspended from operating in Haiti for the next two months pending an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by its employees, a government official said Thursday.

The Haitian government Thursday suspended the operations of the British charity Oxfam in the country pending the outcome of an investigation into employees' alleged sexual exploitation of Haitians after the country's devastating 2010 quake.

Oxfam International, the umbrella organisation, has apologised to the people of Haiti and said it has created a new plan to improve oversight of its employees.

He said safeguards had been put in place following an internal investigation in 2011 into the behaviour of some Oxfam staff in Haiti, but he admitted that the charity had not gone far enough.

The country's ministry of planning and foreign aid said Oxfam had made a "serious error" by failing to inform Haitian authorities of the actions by their staff at the time they occurred.

Executive Director Winnie Byanyima pledged in a statement to be "honest, transparent and accountable in addressing sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse".

Oxfam boss apologises over abuse of Haiti quake victims

Oxfam Great Britain is one of four divisions of the global organization working in Haiti.

The suspension of the charity's right to operate did not apply to Oxfam Canada, he said.

It came after the charity denied claims it had covered up the use of prostitutes by senior aid workers at the time, while it has also come under fire for not properly disclosing misconduct of former staff or preventing them being employed by other charities.

Oxfam's chief executive told MPs this week that it has received 26 new allegations of sexual misconduct since the scandal went public.

Oxfam's troubles have also been followed by other allegations about misconduct in the charity and worldwide aid sector. Since then, thousands of people have cancelled their donations, said Goldring.