Haiti has temporarily revoked British charity Oxfam’s right to operate in the country, after allegations of sexual misconduct by some of its employees surfaced. Planning and External Cooperation Minister Aviol Fleurant said on Thursday that Oxfam’s operations were suspended because of its “serious failings” between 2010 and 2011, AFP reported.
Former aid workers of Oxfam – one of Britain’s biggest charities – are accused of paying for sex while on a mission to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The allegations from 2011 made news in February after the Times published a report on it. Oxfam, too, released an internal investigation report from 2011 on the matter.
Haiti will decide on Oxfam’s operations in the country only two months later, after reviewing evidence in the case. The order does not apply to Oxfam’s Canada unit.
“If during the two month-long investigation I find a link between the aid funds that Oxfam received on behalf of Haiti and the crime that has been committed, we will...declare Oxfam Great Britain persona non grata, and they will have to leave the country without further delay,” Fleurant said.
Oxfam’s counsel Alain Lemithe called the temporary suspension “hasty and political” and said Haiti made the decision without any clear evidence to prove the allegations of sexual misconduct. “They accused the organisation of sexual abuse and use of minors,” Lemithe said. “Those are very serious allegations, which until now have never been proven.”