|[Published: Sunday February 11 2018]
Aid agency Oxfam in Haiti sex claims
London 11 Feb (ANA) - Britain could cut off funding for Oxfam if it cannot account for the way it handled claims of sexual misconduct by aid workers, the international development secretary has warned.
Penny Mordaunt will meet the charity on Monday to hear more about claims staff used prostitutes in Haiti in 2011. She said Oxfam had failed in its "moral leadership" over the "scandal".
She told Andrew Marr other charities should report any similar issues and pledged they would all be followed up. Oxfam has faced growing criticism over the way it handled the allegations of misconduct by its staff in Haiti, where they were working in the aftermath of the huge earthquake that devastated they country in 2010.
Its own investigation into the allegations led to four people being sacked and three others resigning - among them its country director for Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren. Oxfam has said it was "dismayed by what happened" and has since set up a hotline for people to report sexual abuse and misconduct.
But Ms Mordaunt said it was "a complete betrayal of both the people Oxfam were there to help and also the people that sent them there to do that job", describing it as "a scandal". And she said Oxfam did "absolutely the wrong thing" by not reporting the detail of the allegations to the government.
She said it did not matter how good the safeguarding practices were in an organisation if they did not "have the moral leadership to do the right thing", adding: "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, then we can not have you as a partner."
She said she was considering whether the organisation should receive any more funding from the Department for International Development - which gave it £32m ($44m) in the last financial year.
Meanwhile, Oxfam is facing further allegations, reported in the Observer, that its staff used prostitutes in Chad in 2006. That mission was also led by Mr van Hauwermeiren. Oxfam said it could not corroborate the latest claims but it said it was "shocked and dismayed" at what it called the unacceptable behaviour by a small number of people.
"Since the Haiti case in 2011 we have introduced a range of measures to prevent sexual abuse and misconduct happening in the first place and improve how we handle any allegations," the charity said.(ANA)
FA/ANA/11 February 2018--------