Oxfam body to look into misconduct charges

Oxfam International executive director Winnie Byanyima said earlier that she is appointing an independent commission to investigate the allegations that staff members used prostitutes in Haiti after the country's 2010 quake, and also in Chad.

She added that the Government "reserves the right to take whatever decisions about present or future funding to Oxfam, and any other organisation, that we deem necessary".

Byanyima said the commission would "look into our culture and our practices" and set up a vetting system for its staff and urged all victims of abuse to come forward.

"We need to make sure anyone guilty of such gross misconduct is not able to move between different organisations, exposing more vulnerable people to risk", said Byanyima.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said today that Oxfam has agreed not to bid for further funding from her department until the British government believes its "high standards" can be met.

'They have been poorly served by Oxfam's leadership team too'.

"The intensity and the ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do?"

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, admitted the organization needed to reform, but said "the scale and the intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability".

Mr Clarken added: "This review marks the beginning of change for Oxfam as an worldwide organisation - Oxfam Ireland is 100% committed to playing our part and to working with others in government and across the sector to implement urgent reforms that enable us to do more and do better for the world's poorest".

"I struggle to understand why they didn't respond immediately to that call for additional resource", she said.

Oxfam has faced criticism after media reports revealed earlier this month that during a humanitarian mission in Haiti in 2011, the charity's former country director Roland van Hauwermeiren had hired prostitutes at a villa paid for by the organisation, the BBC reported.

"This was with an honourable, mature woman, who was not an quake victim nor a prostitute".

Mr Van Hauwermeiren, who left Oxfam in 2011 amid a sexual misconduct inquiry, has denied hiring prostitutes but said he had "intimate relations" with a woman who was "not a prostitute".

"I think (her criticism) was very unbalanced, and ironically didn't give enough credit to the very work that she promoted", he told the paper.

In response, Oxfam on Friday said it would create a global database of accredited referees to crack down on forged or unreliable references from past or current employees. The names of the men involved have already been shared with the authorities in Haiti.

  • Sylvester Abbott