Ox­fam’s deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive re­signs

Haiti sex trade scan­dal threat­ens NGO’s fund­ing

Global Times - - World -

The deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive of Ox­fam re­signed on Mon­day over the Bri­tish char­ity’s han­dling of a pros­ti­tu­tion scan­dal in Haiti in­volv­ing its staff mem­bers and al­le­ga­tions of sim­i­lar be­hav­ior in Chad.

“As pro­gram di­rec­tor at the time, I am ashamed that this hap­pened on my watch and I take full re­spon­si­bil­ity,” Penny Lawrence said in a state­ment.

Ox­fam has faced se­vere crit­i­cism for a lack of trans­parency over mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions against staff mem­bers ac­cused of us­ing pros­ti­tutes in Haiti fol­low­ing a dev­as­tat­ing 2010 earth­quake.

The char­ity has de­nied cov­er­ing up the scan­dal.

Ox­fam’s chair of trustees Caro­line Thom­son and chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Goldring were called to ex­plain them­selves at a meet­ing on Mon­day with In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Penny Mor­daunt.

The min­is­ter said in a state­ment that she had is­sued a let­ter to all char­i­ties work­ing over­seas to de­mand that they “do more... so that we have ab­so­lute as­sur­ance” in their moral lead­er­ship.

Mor­daunt also an­nounced plans to tackle sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and abuse “across the UN and other in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Thom­son de­scribed the meet­ing as “very chal­leng­ing but con­struc­tive.”

“We rec­og­nize that we have some way to go to per­suade her that we have the right moral lead­er­ship to be fully en­trusted with pub­lic money.”

“But we are com­mit­ted to work­ing with her, DFID and the Char­ity Com­mis­sion to prove we can meet her ex­pec­ta­tions,” she said in a state­ment, re­fer­ring to the Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment.

Ox­fam re­ceived £31.7 mil­lion (35.7 mil­lion eu­ros, $43.8 mil­lion) from state cof­fers last year, and Mor­daunt warned that could be un­der threat, say­ing “we will not work with any or­ga­ni­za­tion that does not live up to the high stan­dards on safe­guard­ing and pro­tec­tion that we re­quire.”

The EU on Mon­day also said that the bloc would with­hold fund­ing if char­i­ties breached eth­i­cal stan­dards.

“We ex­pect Ox­fam to fully clar­ify the al­le­ga­tions with max­i­mum trans­parency as a mat­ter of ur­gency, and we’re ready to re­view and, if needed, cease fund­ing to any part­ner who is not liv­ing up to the re­quired high eth­i­cal stan­dards,” EU spokes­woman Maja Ko­ci­jan­cic told re­porters.

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