Archbishop Desmond Tutu resigns as Oxfam ambassador over charity's sex scandal

Mark Goldring Oxfam’s chief executive leaves the international trade department with Caroline Thomson the chairwoman of the trustees. He is accused of failing to act on a whistleblower’s claims

The UN said a year ago there were 145 cases of sexual exploitation involving 311 victims reported within peacekeeping in 2016 alone.

"They discussed how DFID and the NCA can work together in implementing laws on sexual exploitation and abuse and agreed to strengthen co-operation on this issue", a spokeswoman for the Department for International Development said.

"The vast majority of aid workers are good people". No report of sexual abuse of aid recipients was reported.

Last week, the British newspaper The Times reported that in 2011 Oxfam tried to cover up claims that a guesthouse was used as a "whorehouse" by male aid workers in Haiti, which had been devastated the previous year by an quake that killed 220,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

Earlier yesterday, the actress Minnie Driver stood down from her ambassador role with Oxfam, saying she was "nothing short of horrified" by the allegations.

Britain warned on Wednesday it would cut off ties with foreign aid charities that cover up sex scandals.

"Unless you report every serious incident or allegation, no matter how damaging to your reputation - we can not be partners", Britain's International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt told a conference in Stockholm, according to extracts of her speech released by her Ministry.

Mordaunt called the Haiti prostitution allegations "horrifying". More than a thousand people have cancelled direct-debit donations to the organization since the scandal erupted.

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Roland van Hauwermeiren, who led Oxfam's team in Haiti, was one of three staff members who resigned over allegations they hired prostitutes following the devastating 2010 natural disaster there.

Swedish former aid worker Amira Malik Miller told the humanitarian news agency IRIN that she had made a complaint about him in 2004 when she was working alongside him in Liberia.

But 68-year-old Roland Van Hauwermeiren has acknowledged that some of the details are "correctly described".

He was then hired by Oxfam as a country director in Chad before moving to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Haiti, IRIN reports. They let individuals who had undertaken criminal activity go, they did not tell prosecuting authorities; they did not tell their regulator and they did not tell their donors.

Organisations were also asked to confirm that their safeguarding policies and procedures were shared and understood by staff, and that there was clarity on "how any incidents and allegations will be handled, should they arise" - with particular reference to reporting to United Kingdom and local authorities, the Charity Commission, and DfID. Now Cafod has sacked a former Oxfam employee caught up in the scandal.

An Oxfam spokesperson said: 'Oxfam has not and would not provide a positive reference for any of those who were dismissed or resigned as a result of the case'.

South African Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu stepped down on Thursday as an Oxfam ambassador.

Several sponsors and partners of Oxfam including Visa and the retail chain Marks and Spencer have also said they are examining the situation.

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