Oxfam scandal: Penny Mordaunt threatens to pull aid from overseas charities

Oxfam scandal: Penny Mordaunt threatens to pull aid from overseas charities

Oxfam scandal: Penny Mordaunt threatens to pull aid from overseas charities

And she said it was "utterly despicable" that allegations of abuse persisted in the aid sector, saying: "I am very clear: we will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection that we require".

She said the reports were "a complete betrayal of the people Oxfam were there to help and also the people that sent them there to do that job".

The staff had been in as part of the relief effort following the devastating magnitude 7.0 quake that killed more than 200,000 people there in 2010.

"With regard to Oxfam and any other organisation that has safeguarding issues, we expect them to cooperate fully with such authorities, and we will cease to fund any organisation that does not", she said in a statement. Oxfam received almost £32m from the government in the last financial year.

The Charity Commission revealed yesterday that it had written to Oxfam demanding "clarity" on the allegations "as a matter of urgency".

Ms Mordaunt told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show that the failure to pass on information to relevant authorities shows an "absolute absence of leadership". "We were not told about the nature of these events".

Oxfam will have funding withdrawn if it fails to comply with authorities over safeguarding issues, the International Development Secretary warned today.

However, Mordaunt said not disclosing the full picture was "a scandal" and Monday's meeting was a chance "to see if they are displaying the moral leadership that I think they need to now".

Mr Marr said to the minister "that was a lie, wasn't it?" - to which she replied: "Well, quite".

The UK-based charity said it had already set up a whistleblowing hotline to prevent sexual abuse and misconduct.


It said Oxfam's leaders had "showed a lack of judgement" in their handling of the matter and their level of openness with the government and commission.

When it happened, she said, new whistle-blowing procedures, safeguarding practises and training were put in place.

"We often work with organisations in chaotic and hard circumstances".

"Our primary aim was always to root out and take action against those involved and we publicly announced, including to media, both the investigation and the action we took as a result".

In a further warning, she said: "If they do not hand over all the information that they have from their investigation and subsequently to the relevant authorities, including the Charity Commission and prosecuting authorities, then I can not work with them any more as an aid delivery partner".

More reports of misconduct have emerged since the original report in the Times.

Oxfam has been accused of trying to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct by workers in Haiti in 2011.

Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, whom Oxfam said was forced to resign as Haiti country director in 2011 after allegedly admitting hiring prostitutes, went on to become head of mission for Action Against Hunger in Bangladesh from 2012 to 2014.

In the latest revelations, the Sunday Times reports more than 120 workers for Britain's leading charities were accused of sexual abuse in the past year, "fuelling fears paedophiles are targeting overseas aid organisations". The British Red Cross told the paper there had been a "small number of cases of harassment reported in the UK".

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