Oxfam Ireland has ‘no link’ to British sex scandal claims
NOBODY employed by Oxfam Ireland was involved in the sex scandal rocking the British arm of the charity, its Irish boss said.
Allegations have emerged that some Oxfam workers sent to Haiti after the 2011 earthquake, that killed more than 200,000 people, cavorted with prostitutes at a sex party likened to a ‘Caligula orgy’.
But Oxfam Ireland chief executive Jim Clarken stated last night: ‘No staff employed by Oxfam Ireland were involved in these cases and they did not involve the misuse of public funds.’
The charity is one of a number of independent affiliates of the global development charity brand, and is run independently of the other affiliates.
In a statement on the charity’s website, Mr Clarken said: ‘All of the money you helped to raise for Haiti was spent as planned on the relief response to the 2010 earthquake. I want to assure you that this incident does not represent Oxfam or what we stand for. The deplorable actions of a small number of people will not stop the vital work against poverty and injustice worldwide that you contribute to everyday.’
The claims against Oxfam’s British group were made after it was alleged that the charity covered up the use of prostitutes, some of whom may have been children, by staff.
An internal investigation was carried out, at the time, into claims of sexual exploitation, downloading of pornography, bullying and intimidation but staff were allowed resign while others were sacked for gross misconduct.
Details have only just emerged after a confidential internal report of the investigation was leaked. Shockingly, the report said some staff had operated in a ‘culture of impunity’, and those who were sexually exploited may include child survivors of the earthquake.
It stated: ‘It cannot be ruled out that any of the prostitutes were under-aged.’
The Oxfam Ireland chief also said: ‘The stories of sexual misconduct unfolding in the media are appalling and they have personally rocked me and everyone at Oxfam Ireland.
‘The behaviour of some staff employed by Oxfam Great Britain in Haiti in 2011 and in Chad in 2006 was totally unacceptable, contrary to our values and the high standards we expect of our staff. We want to make it very clear, we completely condemn any form of abuse against the people we work to protect and support.
‘We feel deep shame in the behaviour of those who failed to uphold our values, values I know you, our supporters, share. I feel great responsibility in the trust you place in us and I know that this awful situation may have damaged that.’
He added: ‘We promise to continue to be open and transparent and rebuild any trust lost. We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we continue to learn and improve as an organisation.’
He said Oxfam Ireland is ‘zero-tolerant to sexual misconduct’ and ‘will not stand for any kind of harassment of staff, partners, volunteers or those we serve’.
Some of them may have been children
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