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Oxfam scandal ‘tip of iceberg’ in aid sector abuse

Calls have been made for a better complaints mechanism to allow victims to come forward.

The Oxfam sex scandal in Haiti is just the “tip of the iceberg”, a parliamentary gathering has been told.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Haiti heard calls for a new complaints mechanism to be put in place across the aid sector in order to encourage victims of abuse to come forward.

The executive director of the Institute of Democracy and Justice in Haiti, Brian Concannon, said: “The crisis with Oxfam is really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a crisis that effects the entire sector.”

He added: “It’s our belief that the vast majority of complaints are never made. In fact, Oxfam is somewhat in this position because it actually had some reporting requirements.

“I think in many cases there was just no reporting, so … there’s no consequences for anybody.”

We know that those men who were employed by Oxfam let us down very badly indeed, and also let down the Haitian people Nick Roseveare, Oxfam

Oxfam was plunged into crisis after it emerged some of its workers in Haiti engaged in “sex parties” with prostitutes in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Oxfam’s director of international programmes Nick Roseveare said the charity was at the start of a long road of trying to recover trust.

“As unenviable as being the tip of the iceberg is, it’s really important that the rest of the iceberg … is exposed.

“We know that we have fallen short. We know that those men who were employed by Oxfam let us down very badly indeed, and also let down the Haitian people.

“What women endured at the hands of Oxfam staff was shameful. And we have nothing but disappointment and embarrassment for that and a sense of shame organisationally.”

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