International Development Committee to quiz Oxfam bosses

Mary Beard

Mary Beard

Goldring, who took up his post in 2013, said Oxfam's director in Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, should not have been allowed to resign when his role in the scandal was revealed and that the charity should have done more to warn future employers rather than merely refusing to give a reference.

About 7,000 people canceled their regular donations to United Kingdom charity Oxfam in the last 10 days, following a sex scandal in the organization, CEO of the charity's British affiliate Mark Goldring said Tuesday.

He is facing questions from MPs on the International Development Committee about the sexual misconduct of some staff after the 2010 Haiti natural disaster.

LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Oxfam's chief executive apologised on Tuesday for saying a wave of condemnation over sex abuse by the charity's staff was disproportionate as it had not "murdered babies in their cots" in a scandal that has prompted new reports of abuse.

Mr Goldring also said that 7,000 individuals had cancelled regular donations to Oxfam in the last ten days. "We murdered babies in their cots?"

Opposition Labour politician and International Development committee chair Stephen Twigg said Goldring's comments in a newspaper interview were regarded by many as "grossly inappropriate".

Mr Van Hauwermeiren became a senior figure at Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh, with the charity since claiming Oxfam made no mention of his alleged conduct in 2011.

Two other Oxfam officials also issued apologies on behalf of the organisation. I shouldn't have said those things.

Made public earlier in the day, Oxfam's 2011 report into the behaviour of aid workers sent to Haiti following a devastating natural disaster revealed that a former top official admitted to paying for sex and that three staff physically threatened a witness. "Then people thought that that was to be transparent". "We have got to keep that work going".

The threats and intimidation were among several accusations of misconduct made public for the first time with Oxfam's release of its 2011 report into the conduct of its Haiti staff, including the hiring of prostitutes. This is painful for me.

When pressed on the ages of the women involved, Goldring said Oxfam's own investigations found no women were under 18, the legal age of consent in Haiti. Now we know that it was not enough, "he recognised".

Ms Thomson, who became chairwoman of Oxfam's trustees in 2017, said the charity council's task was to ensure it is "never again" at risk of being perceived to have put reputation over accountability.

British Prime Minister Theresa May Monday described the behavior of some Oxfam staff in Haiti as "horrific" after the charity released an internal report revealing that a former top official admitted to paying for sex and three staff threatened a witness.

The Charity Commission is now investigating the organisation.

Haiti, which has criticized the United Kingdom charity for not notifying it of the findings, is now conducting its own investigation.

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