Oxfam sex abuse criticism disproportionate, chief executive says

Oxfam boss Mark Goldring complains that critics are gunning for the charity EPA  STR

British aid organisation Oxfam said on Friday that it would create an independent commission to review the charity's practices and culture after accusations of sexual misconduct in Haiti.

In an interview with the BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Landale, she switched to speaking in a Ugandan language to make an apology: "From the bottom of my heart forgive us, forgive Oxfam".

Helen Evans, who was in charge of investigating allegations against Oxfam staff members between 2012 and 2015, told Channel Four television that abuse cases she had heard of included a woman who had been coerced to have sex in exchange for aid.

"We need to make sure anyone guilty of such gross misconduct is not able to move between different organisations, exposing more vulnerable people to risk", said Ms Byanyima.

The charity has faced criticism over its handling of claims that staff hired prostitutes in earthquake-stricken Haiti in 2011.

"Oxfam will be a standard bearer of safety and dignity for all who interact with us", she said on twitter.

Oxfam Ireland has said it will play a "leadership role" as the global charity works to introduce reforms to "root out any form of abuse".

"In taking these actions I am very aware that there are hundreds of good, courageous and compassionate people working for Oxfam around the world. I want them to come forward and for justice to be done for them", she told the BBC.

Mark Goldring, chief executive of Oxfam GB, admitted the organization needed to reform, but said "the scale and the intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability". I struggle to understand it.

He also disclosed that one of the men sacked after being accused of using prostitutes was given a job reference from the charity, but it was written by a colleague who was too fired over the allegations.

"I think that these people should be considered persona non grata", she said of the charity, which spent $15 million on its operations in the country a year ago and employs 248 staff.

"We are committed to proving that we deserve the confidence of the United Kingdom public", the charity said.

"The hardest thing is that my family has rejected me", he said.

Oxfam, one of the world's biggest disaster relief charities, said an internal investigation in 2011 confirmed sexual misconduct occurred, and has apologised.

Reforms announced on Friday include more than doubling the number of people working in Oxfam's safeguarding processes while more than tripling the annual funding to £720,000.

'That they report staff members involved in this incident to their respective national governments; and that they fully cooperate with the Haitian authorities, including handing over all evidence they hold.

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