June 18, 2018

Oxfam sex scandal: Watchdog tells Save the Children to search records

15 February 2018, 08:18 | Taylor George

The international aid group said it wanted to be ‘transparent’ about the abuse

Médecins Sans Frontières fired 19 people over sex abuse claims

Roland van Hauwermeiren, who is said to have resigned before the end of Oxfam's investigation into the Haiti allegations, spoke out in an interview with local media in his native Belgium.

"A lot of people, including the global media, will feel blushes on their cheeks when they hear my version of the facts", the Belgian national told Het Nieuwsblad. There are things that are described correctly.

"And though it is unfortunate that after 20 years I am no longer able to advocate and defend through this specific framework, social and economic injustice is more globally prevalent than ever", she said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Parties every week? Fancy villas? Women paid with money from the organisation?" the 68-year-old told the Belgian newspaper.

The letter also dealt with allegations about his conduct in earlier operations: In Liberia in 2004, he acknowledged, he was sacked after attending a party where two prostitutes were present although he said he had only "danced and flirted" with them.

She is referring to the fact that Mr van Hauwermeiren ended up taking another high-profile position, as the head of mission for Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh.

Mark Goldring, Oxfam's chief executive, denied the allegations that the charity covered up any information unearthed in internal investigations.

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Oxfam's senior leaders met with the Charity Commission yesterday and a statement from the regulator is expected later today.

The charity said the allegations that under-age girls may have been involved were not proven.

Several staff were sacked or resigned in 2011 over a string of lurid claims, including that they had used prostitutes while delivering aid to earthquake-hit Haiti.

The news comes as the Government said it is reviewing its relationship with Oxford-based Oxfam in the wake of sex allegations against some of the charity's staff.

A scandal over sexual abuse in the foreign aid industry that began with Oxfam spread Wednesday, as French group Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières: MSF) revealed it had fired 19 staff previous year for harassment or abuse. International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said on Wednesday the aid sector needed a change of culture. But she said it's "much better" than it was in 2011 and it will continue to rebuild.

Ms Mordaunt will meet with the boss of the National Crime Agency on Thursday in response to Oxfam's crisis. Lawrence was global programmes director from 2006 to 2014, when she became deputy chief executive.

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