Oxfam Probes Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Aid Workers In Democratic Republic Of Congo

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Two senior managers of Oxfam, a charitable organisation, were suspended after allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying were made against them in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The case is currently under investigation.

The misconduct investigations were initiated just a few weeks after Oxfam’s statutory supervision status was lifted as per the 2019 report against the staff after the Haiti earthquake in 2010.

A spokesperson from Oxfam confirmed to the Guardian that an external investigation is going on the case which is being conducted by the Uk-based NGO. The investigations started in November last year and charges of power abuse, bullying and sexual misconduct are being looked into.

The spokesperson said, “The Charity Commission for England and Wales were notified at the start of the investigation and we have kept them informed about its progress. We are acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely. ”

“We are working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively,” they added.
Oxfam has been working for charitable causes in the DRC since 1961. They have worked on humanitarian projects such as access to clean water and other such projects.

The Times came out with a report that mentioned a 10-page letter sent to Oxfam authorities in February. The letter has allegations of corruption, intimidation, systemic fraud and sexual harassment against 11 people. The letter has been signed by 20 former and current staff of Oxfam.

These allegations add to the already tainted image of the charitable organisation. Charity Commission in 2019 stated that Oxfam had not completely disclosed the allegations of child abuse against its staff who were working in disaster zones.

Charity Commission had also said that the organisation had a “culture of poor behaviour” among its staff members who went to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.
It was also alleged that the staff were getting involved with child sex workers even on the organisation’s premises in the Caribbean island. Commission also said that the measures to safeguard the vulnerable people were inadequate.

Statutory supervision of Oxfam was lifted in February after most of the 100 recommendations after the inquiry were implemented.

In 2020 more than 20 women had alleged that workers from the World Health Organisation and other big NGOs sexually exploited them during the Ebola outbreak.