Oxfam intimidates sex scandal victims

Haiti President Jovenel Moise

The British charity, Oxfam, has received 26 fresh accusations of sexual misconduct since the breaking of the Haiti scandal, MPs have been told by chief executive Mark Goldring.

He was being questioned by lawmakers over sexual exploitation in the aid sector following the scandal over the alleged use of prostitutes in Haiti in 2011 in the aftermath of the island's natural disaster.

Representatives from Save the Children and the Department for International Development will also be quizzed.

The Oxfam boss had been quoted as saying by Saturday's Guardian: "The intensity and ferocity of the attacks make you wonder, what did we do?"

Van Hauwermeiren, 68, said: "I was stupid enough to take part in a party in a pub".

Mr Goldring told MPs that at the time of the original investigation, Oxfam issued a press release revealing its findings of "serious misconduct" involving bullying, intimidation and breaches of the charity's code of conduct - but did not mention sexual exploitation.

On Tuesday, Mark Goldring is to face MPs to answer questions about Oxfam's aid work in Haiti, amid allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by staff responding to the 2010 quake in the Caribbean country.

The chief executive of Oxfam is the subject of an internal investigation over the handling of a sex abuse claim.

Goldring apologised "wholeheartedly" on behalf of Oxfam to the committee, which said it would conduct its own inquiry into abuses in the foreign aid sector.

"We will stand ready to engage with the people of Haiti and have expressed our openness to collaborate as much as required with the Haiti Government" he added. "I hope I have led Oxfam competently, but that's for others to decide". "We have given, as best as we can, explanations as to what happened in 2011", Mr Ticehurst said.

Four staff were fired for gross misconduct and three others, including then country director Roland Van Hauwermeiren, were allowed to quit. He admitted, with hindsight, the charity should have been more transparent. "We have got to keep that work going". With hindsight, they made the wrong call. These are pretty vulnerable women and girls, looking for Oxfam to get them through this bad situation.

Ms Thomson, who became chairwoman of Oxfam's trustees in 2017, said the charity council's task was to ensure it is "never again" at risk of being perceived to have put reputation over accountability.

Oxfam has pledged to overhaul its recruitment and vetting procedures and submit to an independent commission to investigate allegations of sex abuse.

Publication of the report comes as Oxfam seeks to move past the scandal after the British government on Friday suspended new funding to Oxfam's British affiliate.

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