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Oxfam sex abuse criticism disproportionate, chief executive says

Oxfam sex abuse criticism disproportionate, chief executive says”

One of the best-known global NGOs, with aid programmes running across the globe, Oxfam is under threat of losing its British government funding over the sexual misconduct allegations.

"(But) the intensity and ferocity of the attacks makes you wonder, what did we do?

She urged victims to come forward, saying she was "here for all the women who have been abused".

After meeting Oxfam officials on Monday, Mordaunt said she had written to all British charities working overseas to demand that "they step up and do more, so that we have absolute assurance that the moral leadership, the systems, the culture and the transparency that are needed".

The Oxfam GB chief executive also said he had not slept for six nights as the charity reeled from allegations of sex abuse by Oxfam workers in Haiti and a suggestion it covered up claims that staff used prostitutes while delivering aid.

"From the bottom of my heart, forgive us, forgive Oxfam", the Ugandan director said in her native tongue, Luganda.

UK-based Oxfam, one of the world's biggest disaster relief charities, has neither confirmed nor denied the Haiti allegations but has said an internal investigation in 2011 confirmed unspecified sexual misconduct occurred.

But Roland van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam's director in Haiti at the time and one of the three who resigned from the charity, dismissed the allegations. "I never gave her money".

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

"I'm not a saint, I'm a man of flesh and blood and have made mistakes (not easy to admit)", said van Hauwermeiren, "And I am deeply ashamed".

Van Hauwermeiren was moved to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 quake.

The prostitution allegations were not passed to Haitian authorities at the time of the inquiry, but Oxfam said it had now passed on the names of the men involved.

Oxfam's regional director for Asia Lan Mercado earlier this week told the BBC she was aware of cases of sexual abuse involving staff in Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines between 2009 and 2013.

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.

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.



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