Oxfam boss says sorry to Haiti over horrid sex allegations

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Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette. www.travel-gazette.com / Nathan Morley
Photograph artwork copyright © Travel Gazette. www.travel-gazette.com / Nathan Morley

Oxfam’s chief executive Mark Goldring made an apology on Tuesday for the damage the charity has done to the people of Haiti and the wider efforts of aid workers.

“I make no excuses, I make an apology. My first concern is the women of Haiti and anyone else who has been wronged,” he said before the MPs of the parliament’s international development committee.

The head of Oxfam’s global operation Winnie Byanyima has also apologised, saying the scandal is “shameful,” Sky news reported.

Goldring is under investigation for his handling of a sex abuse claim as MPs are questioning him about Oxfam’s aid work in Haiti, amid allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by staff.

Oxfam has offered its “humblest apologies” to the Haitian government over allegations of sexual exploitation by its staff.

The apology was made as Oxfam on Monday published its 2011 internal investigation report into allegations of sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behaviour in Haiti.

A leaked version of the report was the centre of The Times’ news story on Feb. 9, which sparked the ongoing media frenzy surrounding the charity.

The 10-page report concluded charities should be warned about “problem staff” – only for several accused of abuse to successfully take up future posts in the aid sector.

“We are making this exceptional publication because we want to be as transparent as possible about the decisions we made during this particular investigation and in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused,” the charity said in a statement.

“We are also meeting with the government of Haiti to apologize for our mistakes and discuss what more we can do, including for the women affected by these events,” it said.

Earlier this month, the Times published allegations that Oxfam aid workers in Haiti had used prostitutes.

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