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United Kingdom threatens to cut off aid cash to charities

United Kingdom threatens to cut off aid cash to charities

THE British government today said it is warning all charities that receive United Kingdom aid to step up efforts to tackle sexual misconduct among staff or face having their funding cut, amid further fallout from a prostitution scandal involving Oxfam workers in Haiti in 2011.

Penny Mordaunt said the charity had "betrayed" the people it was meant to help when it covered up wrongdoing, including allegations of staff's use of underage prostitutes following the Haitian quake in 2010. She added: "If the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there, then we cannot have you as a partner".

Her comments come after Oxfam workers were accused of using prostitutes in Haiti following the 2010 quake.

On Saturday the Charity Commission said that while Oxfam told the regulator it was investigating inappropriate sexual behaviour, bullying, harassment and staff intimidation, the charity had not given the full details.

We continuously review and refresh our current policies and practices, to ensure that we take timely and corrective actions to prevent and censure such behaviour, ensuring we have confidential and robust mechanisms that enable and support our workforce, beneficiaries and stakeholders to report concerns and incidents without fear or favour, and to ensure protection and support for individuals who report or have experienced such incidents.

"Oxfam had no formal obligation to anybody anything, this wasn't a public story, this was an internal investigation", Mr Goldring said.

"The horrific behaviour by some members of Oxfam staff in Haiti in 2011 is an example of a wider issue on which DfID (Department for International Development) is already taking action, both at home and with the international community via the United Nations".

She told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: I am affording them the opportunity to tell me in person what they did after these events and I'm going to be looking to see if they are displaying the moral leadership that I think they need to now.

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The Times reported Friday that the government secretary responsible for charity regulation was calling for Oxfam to provide more information about the staffers who had paid for sex in Haiti.

The charity said it had publicly announced an investigation into the allegations when they surfaced seven years ago.

Major global charity Oxfam is in hot water with the British government for having sex parties with Haitian prostitutes following the 2010 natural disaster that rattled the nation, killing 220,000 people.

She added: "what is so disturbing about Oxfam is that when this was reported to them, they completely failed to do the right thing".

"There has been in my view, not just a cover-up with Oxfam, there is a denial, a culture of denial in the aid sector about the exploitation and sexual abuse that has taken place historically for decades", she said.

A DfID spokesman said the way "appalling abuse of vulnerable people" had been dealt with raised serious questions for Oxfam.

The charity also said it had yet to find evidence proving allegations that underage girls were involved.

Four members of Oxfam staff were dismissed and three, including the country director, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation.


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