Priti Patel: Government officials 'pushed back' inquiry into aid workers' abuse

Priti Patel: Government officials 'pushed back' inquiry into aid workers' abuse
Priti Patel: Government officials 'pushed back' inquiry into aid workers' abuse
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12 February, 2018

THE British government today said it is warning all charities that receive United Kingdom aid to step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face having their funding cut, amid further fallout from a prostitution scandal involving Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011.

Oxfam, one of Britain's biggest charities, on Friday condemned the behaviour of some former staff in Haiti after a newspaper report said aid workers had paid for sex while on a mission to help those affected by a 2010 natural disaster.

Figures collected by four of Britain's leading overseas aid charities and seen by The Sunday Times reveal that 125 allegations of sex abuse were made a year ago.

MPs have warned about "predatory paedophiles" following sexual assault allegations against more than 120 workers for British leading charities.

Hundreds of people, many of them Haitian, demonstrate against racism in Times Square on Martin Luther King (MLK) Day on January 15, 2018 in New York City.

The charity said it launched an immediate investigation in 2011 which found a "culture of impunity" among some staff but has denied trying to cover up the scandal.

Goldring apologised yesterday and said he was 'deeply ashamed of Oxfam's behaviour [in Haiti]'.

Caroline Thompson, who chairs Oxfam Great Britain's board of trustees, said charities that work in "fragile and unstable environments can become targets for abusers", but that the organization is committed to fixing the problems it faces.

Police officer killed, two wounded in Henry County shooting
The two injured deputies were Michael Corley and Ralph Sidwell "Sid" Callaway , both with the Henry County Sheriff's Office. One of the deputies was shot through his bullet proof vest in the stomach and is undergoing surgery.

"They still have information they should be giving to the authorities", she told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

"Through their unacceptable actions, they have undermined the vital, effective and life-changing work carried out by Oxfam, as well as by other aid and humanitarian organisations worldwide".

'Our approach to this matter would have been different had the full details that have been reported been disclosed to us at the time, ' it said in a statement.

The British government, meanwhile, has threatened to cut off funding to Oxfam, or any other aid organization that doesn't cooperate with the government's new effort to crack down on such abuses, according Mordaunt, who expects to meet with Oxfam officials on Monday.

The former Secretary of State said that "the reason why Oxfam has landed in this position is because they have not been fully open and transparent about what happened".

It said Oxfam's leaders had "showed a lack of judgment" in their handling of the matter and their level of openness with the government and commission.

Ms Mordaunt said the charity had also "categorically" stated to the Department for International Development (DfID) that no harm was done and beneficiaries were not involved. Asked if that was a lie, Mordaunt said: "Well, quite".

An investigation by the Times newspaper found the charity had sacked four people for gross misconduct and allowed three to resign over allegations that charity workers had invited groups of young prostitutes to sex "parties" at their guesthouse.


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