LONDON (Reuters) – The deputy head of Oxfam resigned on Monday over what she stated was the British charity’s failure to adequately reply to previous allegations of sexual misconduct by a few of its employees in Haiti and Chad.
One of the best-known worldwide NGOs, with support programmes operating throughout the globe, Oxfam was underneath menace of dropping its British government funding over sexual misconduct allegations first reported by the Times newspaper final week.
The scandal was quick escalating right into a broader disaster for Britain’s support sector by bolstering critics within the ruling Conservative Party who have argued that the government ought to scale back spending on support in favour of home priorities.
Aid minister Penny Mordaunt, who threatened on Sunday to withdraw government funding from Oxfam except it gave the complete details about occasions in Haiti, summoned senior managers from the charity to a gathering on Monday. The final result was not identified.
The Times newspaper reported on Friday that some employees who had been in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there had paid for intercourse with prostitutes. Oxfam has neither confirmed nor denied that particular allegation however has stated an inner investigation in 2011 had confirmed sexual misconduct had occurred.
Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the allegations contained within the Times report.
Announcing her resignation on Monday, Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence stated Oxfam had grow to be conscious over the previous few days that issues had been raised in regards to the behaviour of employees in Chad in addition to Haiti that the organisation did not adequately act upon.
”It is now clear that these allegations – involving using prostitutes and which associated to behavior of each the nation director and members of his group in Chad – had been raised earlier than he moved to Haiti.
“As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility,” she stated.
Oxfam has stated that because of its inner investigation in 2011, 4 individuals had been dismissed, and three others – together with the Haiti nation director who had beforehand held the identical function in Chad – had resigned.
Reuters was unable to succeed in any of the Oxfam employees who labored in Haiti on the time.
In its final monetary 12 months Oxfam acquired 32 million kilos from Britain’s support ministry, about eight p.c of its total revenue. Whether or not it loses that funding, non-public donations could possibly be hit by the unhealthy publicity.
Founded in 1942, Oxfam is one among Britain’s best-known charities. Its 650 retailers promoting second hand garments and books to boost funds are a well-known sight on the excessive road.
For a intercourse scandal to hit such a high-profile model, it dangers affecting the broader British charity sector.
Britain is one among solely six nations to hit the U.N. goal of spending zero.7 p.c of gross nationwide revenue on support – about 13 billion kilos a 12 months – however there have been more and more vitriolic assaults on that spending in recent times.
Meeting the U.N. goal was a coverage championed by former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron as a part of his efforts to re-brand his celebration as extra compassionate. But with Cameron gone after campaigning on the dropping aspect within the 2016 Brexit referendum, the political local weather on support has modified.
Priti Patel, an support critic regardless of being Mordaunt’s predecessor as worldwide improvement minister, stated the Haiti incidents had been simply “the tip of the iceberg” and there was a “culture of denial” within the sector.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a outstanding right-wing Conservative lawmaker, delivered to May’s workplace on Friday a petition by readers of the Daily Express newspaper complaining that the help funds was not nicely spent and ought to be lower.
Opposition Labour lawmaker Stephen Twigg, who chairs parliament’s support committee, expressed horror on the Haiti allegations however stated he was frightened that support critics would seize on the scandal to additional their very own agenda.
“There will be some who may see an opportunity to say that this is somehow a consequence of our commitment to aid. This isn‘t, it’s a consequence of individuals abusing their power,” he informed the BBC.
Editing by Alison Williams