Oxfam has suspended two workers members over accusations of sexual misconduct in the Democratic Republic of Congo in latest years, the British charity stated on Friday, months after commissioning a broader investigation into abuse claims in the central African nation.
The suspensions have been the newest troubles for Oxfam, whose funding from the British authorities was halted for practically three years after a sexual exploitation scandal in Haiti in early 2018. The charity was allowed to use once more for that help only some weeks in the past.
“We have suspended two members of Oxfam staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November, into allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct,” the charity stated in a press release on Friday.
The accusations towards Oxfam and different help staff in Congo come amid a broader examination of accusations of sexual abuse by humanitarian help staff and United Nations peacekeepers working with some of the world’s most weak individuals in conflict zones and humanitarian emergencies.
In November, Oxfam commissioned an unbiased inquiry into the conduct of its staff in Congo after dozens of girls voiced accusations of sexual abuse. The United Nations and different help companies have begun comparable investigations into their staff.
Oxfam’s investigation was prompted by a report final September in The New Humanitarian, a nonprofit information group based mostly in Geneva, in regards to the conduct of help staff in Congo through the Ebola disaster from 2018 to 2020. It cited accusations from greater than 50 girls who stated that they had been sexually abused by staff at a number of main charities, together with Oxfam.
The accusations deal with a number of incidents in jap Congo at a time when a number of worldwide help teams have been working in the area. The report talked about staff members of several other aid groups and agencies.
Oxfam stated in its assertion that it was “acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely,” and added, “We are working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively.”
In February 2018, the Haitian authorities suspended the British branch of Oxfam from working in the nation after an investigation found that there had been sexual misconduct by staff and that help staff had abused their energy and paid girls for intercourse.
A senior govt at Oxfam additionally stepped down that month when it was revealed that an official in cost of operations in Chad had been allowed to stay with the charity at a time when comparable claims have been made there towards help staff. That official moved on to Haiti, the place there have been accusations of continued sexual abuse.
Oxfam was one of quite a few worldwide help teams that labored in Haiti after a devastating earthquake struck the nation in January 2010, killing greater than 200,000 individuals, in response to Haitian authorities estimates. The group has confronted scrutiny in the last decade because the catastrophe.
A cholera outbreak that later killed thousands of Haitians was traced to United Nations peacekeeping troops despatched in after the quake. And in latest years workers members of U.N. peacekeeping missions and a few of its help companies have been accused of sexual abuse in the Central African Republic, Congo and Haiti.
The points have pressured a re-examining of safeguarding measures inside the group. Last month, António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, released an annual report on the worldwide physique’s response to sexual exploitation and abuse.
That report acknowledged the latest accusations implicating United Nations staff concerned in the Ebola response, and stated that an unbiased fee and different our bodies have been “investigating these wrongs.”
“I am deeply concerned that such egregious allegations continue to implicate United Nations personnel and pledge that we will redouble and spare no efforts to address the underlying factors that harm those whom we seek to assist,” Mr. Guterres stated in the report.
The U.N. report additionally famous that the coronavirus pandemic had “deepened existing inequalities and exposed those in vulnerable situations to increased risks of sexual exploitation and abuse.”