Tác giả Estelle Shirbon
Phó chủ tịch Oxfam đã từ chức hôm thứ Hai về những gì cô nói là sự từ thiện của Anh không đáp ứng đầy đủ các cáo buộc về hành vi sai trái tình dục trước đây của một số nhân viên ở Haiti và Chad.
Một trong những tổ chức phi chính phủ quốc tế nổi tiếng nhất, với các chương trình viện trợ đang chạy trên toàn cầu, Oxfam đã bị đe dọa mất nguồn tài trợ của chính phủ Anh đối với cáo buộc hành vi sai trái tình dục được tờ báo Times đưa tin tuần trước.
Vụ bê bối đã nhanh chóng leo thang vào một cuộc khủng hoảng lớn hơn cho ngành viện trợ của Anh bằng cách ủng hộ các nhà phê bình trong Đảng bảo thủ cầm quyền, người đã lập luận rằng chính phủ nên giảm chi tiêu viện trợ để ưu tiên các ưu tiên trong nước.
Bộ trưởng viện trợ Penny Mordaunt, người đã đe dọa hôm Chủ nhật rút kinh phí của chính phủ khỏi Oxfam trừ khi nó cung cấp đầy đủ thông tin về các sự kiện ở Haiti, triệu tập các nhà quản lý cấp cao từ tổ chức từ thiện đến một cuộc họp vào thứ Hai.
“Oxfam made a full and unqualified apology – to me, and to the people of Britain and Haiti – for the appalling behaviour of some of their staff in Haiti in 2011, and for the wider failings of their organisation’s response to it,” Mordaunt said after meeting Oxfam’s chief executive, Mark Goldring.
“I told Oxfam they must now demonstrate the moral leadership necessary to address this scandal, rebuild the trust of the British public, their staff and the people they aim to help, and deliver progress on these assurances,” she added in a statement.
The statement did not address the question of funding. There was no immediate comment from Oxfam.
The Charity Commission said it had launched a statutory inquiry. The regulator said it had concerns Oxfam “may not have fully and frankly disclosed material details about the allegations at the time in 2011, its handling of the incidents since, and the impact that these have both had on public trust and confidence”.
The Times newspaper reported on xem ngay Friday that some staff who were in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there had paid for sex with prostitutes. Oxfam has neither confirmed nor denied that specific allegation but has said an internal investigation in 2011 had confirmed sexual misconduct had occurred.
Reuters could not independently verify the allegation.
Announcing her resignation on Monday, Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence said Oxfam had become aware over the past few days that concerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that the organisation failed to adequately act upon.
“It is now clear that these allegations – involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behaviour of both the country director and members of his team in Chad – were raised before he moved to Haiti,” she said.
“As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility.”
Oxfam has said that as a result of its internal investigation in 2011, four people were dismissed, and three others – including the Haiti country director who had previously held the same role in Chad – had resigned.
Reuters was unable to reach any of the Oxfam staff who worked in Haiti at the time.
In its last financial year Oxfam received 32 million pounds ($44 million) from Britain’s aid ministry, about 8 percent of its overall income. Whether or not it loses that funding, private donations could be hit by the bad publicity.
Founded in 1942, Oxfam is one of Britain’s best-known charities. Its 650 shops selling second hand clothes and books to raise funds are a familiar sight on the high street.
For a sex scandal to hit such a high-profile brand, it risks affecting the wider British charity sector.
Britain is one of only six nations to hit the U.N. target of spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on aid – about 13 billion pounds a year – but there have been increasingly vitriolic attacks on that spending in recent years.
Meeting the U.N. target was a policy championed by former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his efforts to re-brand his party as more compassionate. But with Cameron gone after campaigning on the losing side in the 2016 Brexit referendum, the political climate on aid has changed.
Priti Patel, an aid critic despite being Mordaunt’s predecessor as international development minister, said the Haiti incidents were just “the tip of the iceberg” and there was a “culture of denial” in the sector.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a prominent right-wing Conservative lawmaker, delivered to May’s office on Friday a petition by readers of the Daily Express newspaper complaining that the aid budget was not well spent and should be cut.
(Editing by Alison Williams)