Aviol Fleurant, the Haitian Minister for External Planning and Cooperation, mentioned, on Thursday, the possibility of the extradition of the Belgian Roland van Hauwermeiren who was the Director of Oxfam GB for Haiti before being forced to resign in 2011. He is one of the main figures to have come to light in recent revelations about Oxfam colleagues, who after the 2010 Haiti earthquake, resorted to the use of sometimes very young prostitutes. The organisation’s workers are alleged to have subjected such girls to harassment and intimidation.
The minister mentioned that Oxfam GB “did not take moral or ethical responsibility for informing the authorities”, at the time the incidents came to light, leading to the redundancies and resignations. Without such redundancies and resignations the matter would not have got as far as the local authorities. Aviol Fleurant repeated that there was an “institutional error” by the humanitarian organisation “which enabled potential sexual predators to leave the country and to thus escape yoke of justice.” By acting in this way, he considered, “Oxfam GB committed the error of impeding victims’ rights to damages in the civil courts.”
A spokeswoman for the organisation asserted on Thursday that the Executive Board of Oxfam International “are committed to cooperating” with the Haiti authorities, who recently discovered that these incidents had taken place through the press, whilst the events themselves date back to between 2010 and 2011.
Questioned upon the potential difficulty of bringing Roland van Hauwermeiren before the Haiti courts, Mr Fleurant assured the court of his firm line in the face of this scandal. He responded, “He may be extradited: we might request that he is brought to Haiti.” The minister maintained that if a potential extradition procedure were to be unsuccessful, “in the jurisdiction where he was tried, either we will be able to take civil action, or we will accompany the victims to do so.”