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Oxfam sex scandal: Charity hit by 26 further allegations

Oxfam sex scandal: Charity hit by 26 further allegations

Oxfam has lost 7,000 regular donors since it was revealed staff sexually exploited victims of the Haiti quake in 2010, its chief executive has told a committee of MPs, which accused the charity of treating vulnerable women "like trinkets". These are pretty vulnerable women and girls, looking for Oxfam to get them through this bad situation. "I don't defend that decision", he said. "I hope I have led Oxfam competently, but that's for others to decide". "We are also meeting with the government of Haiti to apologize for our mistakes and discuss what more we can do, including for the women affected by these events".

"I make no excuses, I make an apology for comparing what I was going through with the bigger picture", he said. "While bad practice should be weeded out wherever it exists, we must act now to protect the reputations of charities that are well run and do wonderful work".

She confirmed that people have already begun to respond to these measures, with new reports of abuse and exploitation being brought to our attention in the past ten days. "We will listen and we will act", she said.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, promised "justice" for survivors and said she was "here for all women who had been abused".

Not all necessarily entail sexual misconduct.

Chief executive Mark Goldring told the parliamentary committee in London that the cases varied in their seriousness, while 16 related to its global operation.

Goldring said that with hindsight, the charity's leaders made the wrong call at the time of their initial investigation about how much information to give to the public and government authorities.

He added that Oxfam had wrongly believed it was being proactive.

"We are making this exceptional publication because we want to be as transparent as possible about the decisions we made during this particular investigation and in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused", the charity said in a statement.

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The Oxfam chief was unable to provide further details on the cases when pressed by British lawmakers.

Addressing the committee, Matthew Rycroft, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Development, said the Oxfam case had created a "huge crisis for the aid sector".

Three of Oxfam's most senior leaders repeatedly apologised for the charity's handling of an internal investigation into the use of prostitutes by staff in Haiti following the devastating 2010 quake.

The charity revealed 7,000 regular donors had been lost since the scandal emerged following reporting by The Times newspaper. Goldring said he had not been able to track down where the advice had come from, "either verbally or informally".

"We need to show them what we are doing to improve screening of job applicants, to use the best safeguarding practices and to build and nurture an organisational culture which genuinely realises the values of our sector".

The charity formally apologised to Haiti on Monday over the prostitution scandal rocking the aid charity.

The parliamentary hearing comes in the wake of news of resignations and dismissals of Oxfam staff in Haiti after allegations of "sex parties" involving prostitutes.

The charity fired four staff members for gross misconduct and allowed three others to resign following a 2011 internal inquiry into the sex scandal, the downloading of pornography, and bullying and intimidation during the assignment.

"Demonstrably, you have got to get your house in order", he told its leadership.


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