UK Examines Ties With Oxfam Amid Sexual Abuse Scandal in Haiti

    The government of the United Kingdom is reviewing the relationship of the nation with Oxfam amid a deepening scandal of sexual misconduct that involved some of the employees of the charity who are working in Haiti after the devastating earthquake in 2010.

    The Department for International Development of the United Kingdom distinctly slammed the charity for its lack of transparency as questions arisen regarding the amount of detail that Oxfam provided when the charity initially reported the allegations. The agency gave 31.7 million pounds ($43.8 million) to Oxfam in 2017. It demanded that the senior officials of Oxfam meet with it in order to explain their actions.

    The agency stated: “If wrongdoing, abuse, fraud or criminal activity occur, we need to know about it immediately, in full.”

    “The way this appalling abuse of vulnerable people was dealt with raises serious questions that Oxfam must answer.”

    Last Friday, the Times of London reported that the allegations of misconduct against seven former Oxfam employees in Haiti included downloading pornography and the use of some prostitutes — some of whom may have been under the age of 18. It said that the investigation of Oxfam into the said charges was thwarted due to charity’s “determination to keep it out of the public eye.”

    The charity says that it investigated the said allegations in 2011. The charity confirmed that it had already dismissed four people and granted three other employees a chance to resign in the case after an investigation uncovered offences that included intimidation, bullying, sexual misconduct, and the failure to protect its staff.

    Oxfam said that it had reported the said results of its investigation to the charity regulator of Britain and to its major donors, which include the Department for International Development.

    On Saturday, the charity commission demanded that additional information should be released by Oxfam saying that the charity had “made no mention of any potential sexual crimes involving minors,” when it initially reported the said investigation in 2011.

    The commission stated: “Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us.”

    On Friday, Oxfam that the behaviour that the employees exhibited in Haiti were “totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff.” And on Saturday, the charity was urged to deny additional reports that the Oxfam provided positive references to the employees who were terminated from their positions.

    “Oxfam has not and would not provide a positive reference for any of those that were dismissed or resigned as a result of the case,” said the charity.

    Oxfam said that some former employees may have falsified their references or requested some individual staff members to provide the references. However, it said that it could not prevent such actions.