Oxfam announced a new raft of measures to tackle sexual abuse cases after being ordered to meet the British government on Monday to explain its handling of a 2011 prostitution scandal involving its aid workers in Haiti.
The British-based charity will reexamine the episode as part of an independent review started this year to drive out unacceptable behaviour, while pledging to improving the recruitment, vetting and management of staff.
“It is not sufficient to be appalled by the behaviour of our former staff -- we must and will learn from it and use it as a spur to improvement,” Caroline Thomson, Oxfam’s chair of trustees, said in a statement.
She confirmed the charity would meet with the Department for International Development (DFID) on Monday and the Charity Commission, which regulates the sector, later this week.
Earlier Sunday Britain’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt warned Oxfam to cooperate with a renewed probe into the scandal or face repercussions.
“If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation... then I cannot work with them any more as an aid delivery partner -- and any other organisation in those circumstances,” she told the BBC.
In a sign of widening fallout, the Sunday Times reported 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”.
Mordaunt said she was writing to all charities that receive state aid demanding they step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face funding cut-offs.
LONDON AFP Feb11, 2018