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Oxfam accused of failure of 'moral leadership' over Haiti sex claims

12 February 2018, 01:31 | Myrtle Vega

GETTY SHAME Charity chief executive Mark Goldring said Oxfam is'ashamed of what happened

Person organising aids to be sent to Haiti

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.

"People knew in DfID, I raised this directly with my department at the time", she said.

Oxfam has been at the centre of a firestorm of controversy after it was revealed that Oxfam staff had paid for sex whilst working in Haiti.

Mordaunt has written to all United Kingdom charities which receive United Kingdom aid urging them to declare any safeguarding issues, and will also meet the Charity Commission this week to discuss the regulation of organisations overseas.

Ms Mordaunt has written to all United Kingdom charities which receive United Kingdom aid to tell them they must declare all safeguarding concerns or lose Government funding.

Oxfam received almost £32m from the government in the last financial year.

She added: If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner.

"This is a historic case but it is in some respects still live".

The charity added it will soon deliver a "safeguarding training course for faith organisations, especially churches, so they can understand, recognise and respond to safeguarding issues, and develop a safer culture".

Mordaunt says there was a failure of "moral leadership" at Oxfam.

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Oxfam will examine new complaints from staff members about how the aid workers involved in 2010 were recruited and vetted.

Oxfam said it publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced and kept the Charity Commission informed.

"I am going to afford them the opportunity to speak to me tomorrow, but I want to make clear: it doesn't matter if you've got a whistleblowing hotline. If they do not hand over all the information they have from their investigation subsequently to the relevant authorities including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities, then I can not work with them any more".

The source added staff members did not speak up for fear this might reduce donations to the most vulnerable at a time when funding is under pressure.

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

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who resigned from Oxfam in 2011 after admitting that prostitutes had visited his villa in Haiti, was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time. They include a pledge to work with other charities to overcome "the legal difficulties which have so far prevented us from sharing intelligence" about staff accused of misconduct.

Of those, 53 were referred to the police or other authorities and 20 people were dismissed.

"Everybody, the 25,000 staff and volunteers are compromised by this".

According to the Sunday Times, Oxfam reported 87 incidents past year, Save the Children reported 31 incidents and Christian Aid two.

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