Ox­fam Ire­land has ‘no link’ to Bri­tish sex scan­dal claims

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Neil Mich­hael neil.michael@dai­ly­mail.ie

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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