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Sunday, February 11, 2018

UK will cut support to NGOs after Oxfam scandal

Por MRod

Oxfam has ensured that it now a team dedicated to detecting possible cases of misconduct, and a confidential telephone hotline for whistleblowers. However, Minister of Cooperation Penny Mordaunt has suggested this Sunday that she does not believe that the new procedures, by themselves, are sufficient to convince her that the NGO should continue to receive public funds.

The United Kingdom will withdraw funding to all NGOs that do not meet the standards of behavior in field work, as warned by the Minister of Cooperation, Penny Mordaunt, in response to accusations of sexual exploitation against Oxfam workers in Haiti. The humanitarian organization, one of the most important in the country, has been involved in a tremendous scandal after The Times published the contents of a devastating internal report: according to the publication, workers of the mission that the NGO deployed in the Caribbean country after the devastating earthquake of 2010, including his boss, Roland van Hauwermeiren, hired the services of prostitutes - some, probably, minors - with the money of the organization.

"In relation to Oxfam and any other organization that has safeguarding problems, we hope that they cooperate fully with the authorities, and we will cease the funds to any organization that does not," Minister Mordaunt said in a statement. The scandal has spread this Sunday to other humanitarian missions and other NGOs. To the point that Priti Patel, Mordaunt's predecessor in the ministry, has warned that it has been permitted that "predatory pedophiles" exploit the humanitarian aid sector. A former Red Cross and United Nations Ambassador, Andrew MacLeod, acknowledged to The Sunday Times that there is a lack of responses against "institutionalized pedophilia" among aid workers in international missions.

The revelations have precipitated a questioning of the regulation of organizations dedicated to international cooperation. The Sunday Times reports that at least 120 workers from British non-governmental organizations were accused of sexual abuse last year. According to the figures published by the newspaper, Oxfam registered 87 cases; Save the Children, 31 - of which ten "were brought to the attention of the police and civil authorities" -; and the Christian Aid organization recorded two incidents.

In the case of Oxfam, with 5,000 employees and a network of 23,000 volunteers, the organization delivered the authorities 53 of these accusations. According to Save the Children, the 31 cases registered within it took place abroad and 16 people were dismissed as a result of the accusations. Christian Aid said, meanwhile, that they removed one of his workers and took "disciplinary action" against another. The Red Cross in the United Kingdom admitted that there has been "a small number of cases of harassment", which the newspaper quantifies in five. "It does not matter if you have a complaint line. It does not matter that you have good safeguarding practices. If moral leadership is not at the top of the organization, we cannot have you as a partner ", affirmed Mordaunt. And these words should be more than a nice speech to get out of the moment.