Haiti vows abuse review of all charities after Oxfam 'hid abuse crimes'

Image credit @wmarybeard via Twitter

If follows the release by Oxfam of an internal report into alleged abuse by aid workers in Haiti which revealed three of the suspects physically threatened or intimidated a witness.

The British charity has been gripped by a scandal alleging that senior staff, including the former Haiti Country Director Roland van Hauwermeiren hired prostitutes at Oxfam premises after the 2010 earthquakes in the country.

Last week, Haitian president Jovenel Moise said sexual misconduct by staff of Oxfam was only the tip of an "iceberg" and called for investigations into Doctors Without Borders and other aid organisations which came to the country after the quake.

Last week, Oxfam unveiled an action plan to tackle sexual harassment and abuse, including creating a new vetting system for staff, and has urged victims to come forward with any new allegations.

"We will stand ready to engage with the people of Haiti and have expressed our openness to collaborate as much as required with the Haiti Government" he added.

Oxfam faces having its funding threatened and an investigation by the Charity Commission following the revelations. Oxfam has faced increasing worldwide pressure after media reports revealed earlier this month that during a humanitarian mission in Haiti in 2011, the charity's country director Roland van Hauwermeiren hired prostitutes at a villa paid for by the organisation.

Oxfam hid information about sexual misconduct from authorities in Haiti, a senior official in the Caribbean nation said on Monday, and he vowed to launch a wide-reaching investigation into charities operating there.

He said that Goldring's handling of the Haiti debacle raises questions about whether he can handle the clean-up, adding that it seems clear "we need root and branch reform".

Haitian President Jovenel Moise tweeted last week that there was "nothing more unworthy or dishonest than a sexual predator who uses his position as part of the humanitarian response to a natural disaster to exploit needy people in their moment of great vulnerability".

Oxfam denies covering up the findings of its internal inquiry.

All names in the report have been redacted apart from that of Van Hauwermeiren, a 68-year-old Belgian who last week released a letter defending himself after the scandal broke. "And I did not give her any money".

Save the Children is facing its own problems after claims this weekend that one staff member drunkenly harassed a female colleague in 2015, holding her by the throat.

In an interview with The Times, however, a young Haitian mother claimed she had a relationship with van Hauwermeiren when she was just 16 - legally underage in Haiti.

"The complaint related to events in late 2017 and was made by an individual who was not involved in 2010".

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