Oxfam's United Kingdom chief says critics are gunning for the charity

Lydia Fleming
February 18, 2018

The head of Oxfam says the humanitarian group will appoint an independent commission to investigate claims that its staff engaged in sexual exploitation while working in disaster zones.

"We will continue to support Oxfam's incredible work for many more years to come", she added.

Helen Evans, who was in charge of investigating allegations against Oxfam staff members between 2012 and 2015, told Channel Four television that abuse cases she had heard of included a woman who had been coerced to have sex in exchange for aid.

Ms Mordaunt said: "We have been very clear that we will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection that we require".

It has also agreed not to bid for any new state funding until Britain's government is satisfied the charity meets appropriate ethical standards, development minister Penny Mordaunt said on Friday.

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Oxfam Ireland has said it will play a "leadership role" as the worldwide charity works to introduce reforms to "root out any form of abuse".

Mark Goldring, the Chief Executive of Oxfam, has lambasted the intensity of the criticism levied against his organisation over claims that its workers used prostitutes in Haiti.

United Kingdom -based Oxfam has been rocked by allegations that senior staff working in Haiti after the country's 2010 quake faced misconduct allegations, including using prostitutes and downloading pornography.

"(But) the intensity and ferocity of the attacks makes you wonder, what did we do? I struggle to understand it. "But I never gave into these advances", he said.

The International Development Secretary said Oxfam had a "long way to go to regain the trust of the British public".

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Evans said a survey of Oxfam staff in three countries including South Sudan showed around 10 per cent of staff had been sexually assaulted and others had witnessed or experienced rape or attempted rape by colleagues.

In response, Oxfam said it would create a global database of accredited referees to crack down on forged or unreliable references from past or current employees.

He said his government "is willing and getting ready to take legal action against individuals" involved in the scandal - possibly including van Hauwermeiren and members of his staff.

Oxfam also vowed to publish its 2011 internal investigation into staff involved in sexual and other misconduct in Haiti as soon as possible.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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