World

More than 120 aid workers accused of sexual assault

More than 120 aid workers accused of sexual assault

Oxfam has faced growing criticism over the way it handled the allegations that some of its staff used prostitutes in Haiti, while they were there as part of the relief effort in the aftermath of the devastating magnitude 7.0 natural disaster that killed more than 200,000 people in 2010.

Numbers collected by four of Britain's leading overseas aid charities, seen by The Sunday Times, revealed that 125 allegations of sex abuse were made a year ago alone.

Ms Mordaunt announced she would meet the charity on Monday to discuss the case, and said: 'If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation is not there then we cannot have you as a partner'.

Ms Mordaunt said the charity had done absolutely the wrong thing by failing to tell the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities the full details of the allegations. And whilst we are not legally required to disclose information on why former Christian Aid employees have left the organisation, we always aim to provide factual information when asked.

She admitted she was considering whether the organisation should receive any more funding from the Department for International Development - which gave it £32m in the last financial year.

Charities, including Oxfam, have been told they will have funding withdrawn if they fail to comply with authorities over safeguarding issues.

THE British government today said it is warning all charities that receive United Kingdom aid to step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face having their funding cut, amid further fallout from a prostitution scandal involving Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011.

The Charity Commission said on Saturday that it had written to Oxfam "as a matter of urgency" to request further information.

He is expected to insist that Oxfam did not inform ministers of the.

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The chief executive said: "With hindsight, I would much prefer that we had talked about sexual misconduct".

"But I don't think it was in anyone's best interest to be describing the details of the behavior in a way that was actually going to draw extreme attention to it when what we wanted to do was get on and deliver an aid program".

Oxfam says it investigated the claims and four people were sacked.

The majority of Oxfam's 230 staff members working in Haiti at the time are not accused of doing anything improper, but a small group of male aid workers living in Delmas, near Port-au-Prince, allegedly turned a rented guesthouse into what a source told the Times the men called "the whorehouse".

The Chad mission was led by Roland van Hauwermeiren who resigned in 2011 after he admitted prostitutes had visited his villa in Haiti during the humanitarian mission there following the 2010 natural disaster.

The French charity told AFP it made pre-employment checks with Oxfam but that the UK-based organisation "did not share with us the reasons for his resignation as head of mission in Haiti or the results of its internal inquiry".

"Moreover, we received positive references from former Oxfam staff - in their individual capacities - who worked with him", including from a human resources staff member, a spokesman said.

Oxfam has denied any cover-up and has said the behaviour of some of its staff in Haiti had been "totally unacceptable".

She added that sexual abuse in the charity sector as "utterly despicable", and vowed to meet the charity commission to discus what more could be done to fight it.


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