EU: Oxfam clarifies the charges, zero tolerance. The assistant director resigns
The humanitarian organization was overwhelmed by criticism and controversy after the Times published an investigation revealing how in 2011, Oxfam staff had hired prostitutes, even very young, in Haiti. Similar accusations were subsequently raised also for the work of other humanitarian workers in 2006 in Chad.
Oxfam deputy executive director, Penny Lawrence, resigned as she took "all the responsibility" for the behavior of the humanitarian organization staff in Chad and Haiti and said she was "ashamed" that everything happened under her control. Lawrence had joined Oxfam in 2006 as a director for international programs, managing missions in 60 countries. Oxfam has been bitterly criticized for the way it handled the scandal. An internal investigation led to the dismissal of four staff members and the resignation of others, including the director of Oxfam in the country. But the organization has been accused of covering up the affair. The EU Commission had invited Oxfam to "shed light" on the involvement of some members of the NGO in the sex scandal in Haiti, threatening to cut funding. "We are waiting for the organization to shed light on this issue urgently - said a spokesperson in Brussels - otherwise we are ready to stop funding organizations that do not respect ethical rules". "The European Commission expects its partners to respect ethical rules and observes a zero tolerance of allegations of abuse committed by organizations that benefit from its funding," the official added. Oxfam's trustee chairman, Caroline Thomson, had announced in a note a series of measures to strengthen the prevention and treatment of sexual abuse cases, following the scandal pulled by the Times and regarding the behavior that some representatives of the NGOs in 2006 in Chad and in 2011 in Haiti. Oxfam, which is headquartered in the United Kingdom, benefited € 1.7 million in European funding in 2011, the year to which the incriminating incidents are based. Some of the leaders of the anoint are accused of hiring young local prostitutes in 2011 in the cost of a mission following the disastrous earthquake of 2010.