Rabat – One of UK’s biggest charity organizations (and a Polisario supporter), Oxfam, as been accused by the Times for covering a 2011 investigation that showed that two of its workers involved in a sex scandal were appointed to senior humanitarian roles in Haiti.
A leaked document from the Times shows that Haiti’s national director and senior Oxfam workers paid local prostitutes for sex, some of them underage girls.
Allegedly, a “full-on Caligula orgy” took place at Oxfam’s headquarters in the earthquake-devastated nation, where the NGO was giving aid to locals.
The head of mission in Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, was forced to resign when Oxfam learned of the abuses.
Oxfam “allowed Mr Van Hauwermeiren a ‘phased and dignified’ resignation in 2011 to protect the charity’s reputation,” wrote the Times.
“Despite being asked about Mr Van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam did not pass information about the circumstances of his resignation to the French charity Action Against Hunger when it hired him as its mission chief in Bangladesh in 2012. He remained with the French charity until 2014,” it added.
After the scandal made headlines, Oxfam’s deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence resigned, admitting that allegations about Hauwermeiren sex affair,was raised
in the UK headquarters before he moved to Haiti, but not handled properly.
“I am desperately sorry for the harm and distress that this has caused to Oxfam’s supporters, the wider development sector, and most of all, the vulnerable people who trusted us,” she said.
Haiti’s president commented on the incident on Monday saying that “there is nothing more outrageous and 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 greatest vulnerability.”
Meanwhile, UK government is threatening Oxfam to cut its funds, reports the Guardian.
The European commission, which also gives as much funding as the UK government to Oxfam said that “We are ready to review and if needed cease funding any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards.”