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Oxfam Chief Asks Forgiveness For Sexual Exploitation By Aid Workers

18 February 2018, 06:02 | Violet Powell

Oxfam is just the tip of the iceberg

Oxfam is just the tip of the iceberg

Haiti's president told Reuters on Friday that sexual misconduct by Oxfam staff was only the tip of an "iceberg" and called for investigations into Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) and other aid organisations that came to the country after a devastating quake in 2010.

"What happened in Haiti and afterwards is a stain on Oxfam that will shame us for years, and rightly so", Byanyima said, adding: "From the bottom of my heart I am asking for forgiveness".

"I'm really inviting anyone who has been a victim of abuse by anyone in our organisation to come forward".

At home and overseas, we will not stand for any kind of harassment of staff, partners, volunteers or those we serve and we are doubling the number of people who work on safeguarding to make sure we are living up to our responsibility to protect them.

The British government has suspended new funding to the aid organization Oxfam following allegations that some of its staff had paid for sex with prostitutes in Haiti after the country's 2010 natural disaster.

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.

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". "I want them to come forward and for justice to be done for them", she told the BBC.

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

He also disclosed that one of the men sacked after being accused of using prostitutes was given a job reference from the charity, but it was written by a colleague who was too fired over the allegations.

"I think it was very unbalanced and, ironically, didn't give enough credit to the very work that she promoted", he said.

In a statement, the British-based aid group said, "We are committed to proving that we deserve the confidence of the United Kingdom public".

"The hardest thing is that my family has rejected me", he said.

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".

He said his government "is willing and getting ready to take legal action against individuals" involved in the scandal - possibly including van Hauwermeiren and members of his staff.

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