Oxfam logo in a bookstore in Glasgow, on February 10, 2018
The British charity Oxfam announced on Tuesday in the British parliament that investigates 26 new cases of sexual misconduct of its staff, after the scandal of prostitutes in the devastated Haiti.
At Oxfam in Britain we’ve had 26 stories, allegations that have come to us that were new, or older stories from people who said ‚I did not report this at the time,‘ said its CEO, Mark Goldring, in the parliamentary committee of international help.
As a result, Goldring said that these are allegations of „events that continue over an extended period of time, not recent cases.“
„We want people to talk wherever they are, no matter when these things happened, some of these cases are related to the United Kingdom, others to our international program,“ he added.
Goldring apologized for asserting in an interview that the use of prostitutes in Haiti is not exactly like killing babies.
„I apologize, I was under stress, I had given many interviews (…) I was thinking about the great job that I have seen Oxfam doing all over the world.“
The explanations come the day after Oxfam apologized to the Haitian people for the behavior of some of its members and expressed their „shame“ after sending an internal investigation to the local authorities.
– 7,000 canceled donations –
According to this 11-page report, of which a partially censored version was disseminated, the former Oxfam director in Haiti, the Belgian Roland Van Hauwermeiren, acknowledged using prostitutes in the premises of the NGO.
The report does not rule out that some of the prostitutes were minors.
Other former Oxfam employees were accused of harassment and intimidation, while a witness was physically threatened.
The Oxfam scandal
On the impact of the crisis on the organization he directs, Goldring revealed that „some 7,000 people canceled their regular donations in the last 10 days“ and that the big sponsoring companies are waiting for events and „they reserve their judgment, they want to examine what we did“.
Apart from these 26 new suspected cases, Oxfam dealt with 87 reports of incidents in the United Kingdom and abroad, most of them in the second-hand stores that the organization has throughout the country, in which volunteers work mainly they also serve as a source of financing.
The Haitian authorities announced last week that they intend to carry out their own investigation. The NGO had promised to deliver to them on Monday the full version of its report, drawn up in 2011.
„It’s absolutely horrible,“ British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday. These behaviors „are far below the standards we can expect from the charities and NGOs with which we work,“ he added.
At the center of the accusations is the former Oxfam director in Haiti, the Belgian Roland Van Hauwermeiren, who admitted hiring prostitutes he received in premises paid for by the organization.
According to the Oxfam report published on Monday, seven employees in Haiti left the company in the framework of the internal investigation. Some of them had been accused, in addition to resorting to prostitutes, of harassing and intimidating other members of the organization.
Four of them were dismissed for „serious misconduct“ and three others resigned, including Van Hauwermeiren, to whom the organization proposed „a dignified exit, provided that it cooperated fully with the rest of the investigation.“