March 22, 2018

United Kingdom threatens to cut off aid to charities following Haiti sex claims

12 February 2018, 01:11 | Simon Arnold

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Oxfam has said it was "dismayed by what happened" and has since set up a hotline for people to report sexual abuse and misconduct.

"Charities that receive government funding have been warned they must be accountable and report any allegations of abuse if they want to continue receiving taxpayers" money.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday that Oxfam and other charities could face the withdrawal of government funds if they fail to implement proper safeguarding procedures.

On Saturday the Charity Commission said that while Oxfam had reported that it was investigating inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and staff intimidation, it had not given the full details.

Meanwhile, the Department for International Development (DFID) said on Friday it was reviewing its relationship with the UK-based charity, to which it gave almost £32 million (RM175 million) previous year. "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there then we can not have you as a partner".

"We're talking about a historic case, but it is in some respects still live". Asked if that was a lie, Mordaunt said: "Well, quite".

Meanwhile an Oxfam spokeswoman has said the charity would not have provided a positive reference for any of those who were dismissed or resigned.

Oxfam said it was "shocked and dismayed" by the new Chad claims although it said it could not corroborate the claims. It doesn't matter you've got good safeguarding practices in place.

"Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result".

We continuously review and refresh our current policies and practices, to ensure that we take timely and corrective actions to prevent and censure such behaviour, ensuring we have confidential and robust mechanisms that enable and support our workforce, beneficiaries and stakeholders to report concerns and incidents without fear or favour, and to ensure protection and support for individuals who report or have experienced such incidents.

If Oxfam doesn't fully cooperate "then I can not work with them anymore as an aid delivery partner", she said.

Oxfam - which employs around 5,000 staff and has 23,000 more volunteers - recorded 87 incidents past year, referring 53 to the police or authorities and dismissing 20 staff or volunteers, according to the paper.

Ms Mordaunt's announcement comes as the Observer reports that Oxfam workers allegedly used prostitutes in Chad in 2006.

Of the 31 cases recorded by Save The Children, just 10 were reported to the police - while Oxfam reported 53 of 87. The charity employs 5,000 staff and has a further 23,000 volunteers.

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.

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