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    Oxfam report sent to Haitian government on Monday

    Stefaan Declercq, the Secretary-General of Oxfam-Solidarity (Belgium) mentions in a communiqué on Monday, that the internal 2011 report on the “accusations of sexual misconduct in Haiti” is published today. He stresses that the organisation is “determined to assume as swiftly as possible its moral responsability to the women in [the country].”

    This morning a copy of the report, which sets out the conclusions of the internal investigation conducted by Oxfam GB, within its team in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, will be submitted to the Haitian government during a meeting. The introduction to the report notes that a copy has already been sent to the Haitian Ambassador in London.

    The report itself places specific emphasis upon the “seven men involved in sexual misconduct.” The text explains the work undertaken by the internal investigation team faced with various colleagues accused, amongst other things, of resorting to employing prostitutes in accommodation provided by the organisation. However, it remains unproven whether the prostitutes themselves were minors at the time the events happened.

    Stefaan Declercq states, “We are meeting with the government in Haiti to apologise for our mistakes, and to establish together what we can do differently to avoid this happening again. It is absolutely crucial that we re-examine what happened, and that we learn the appropriate lessons from these incidents.” He points out, “Owing to the measures that we put in place following this investigation, the matter would be managed very differently today.” He admits, “There clearly remains a lot of work to do in this sphere.” Declercq stresses that Oxfam recently announced further measures, including the creation of an “independent” commission, ahead of then focusing upon the organisation’s “internal culture”.

    After the revelations by the British newspaper, a few days ago, the Haitian government had criticised the organisation’s behaviour, in the sense that it had not informed law-enforcement agencies at the time of these events. Other media outlets then picked up the story. It appears that certain colleagues, involved in this misconduct, either fired by Oxfam or having themselves resigned before the end of the internal investigation, had then been hired by other humanitarian organisations.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times