Overseas Aid Commission Concerned By Oxfam

14th February 2018

Guernsey’s Overseas Aid Development Commission has said it is concerned by recent reports regarding the behaviour of some staff and volunteers working for Oxfam, in the UK.

We are told the Commission condemns all abuse of vulnerable people, especially by those in positions of responsibility towards them.

These events followed the earthquake in Haiti in 2011, and were carried out by people entrusted with caring and life-saving work in the wake of terrible disasters.

The Commission has said it shares our outrage and dismay at the emerging allegations.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Department for International Development are carrying out urgent enquiries into the allegations, and we are told the Commission is following the developments closely.

The Commission ensures thorough compliance and probity checks on all charities it supports, and intends to update these with questions on child protection and safeguarding.

We are told this will provide further assurance that charities are holding their staff to high standards of training and behaviour.

We are told the Commission did not make any direct award to Oxfam following the disaster in 2011, but it did award £50,000 to the Disaster Emergency Committee in response to the appeal launched following the earthquake in Haiti, and Oxfam is one of the 14 charities that receives money from DEC-led appeals.

Oxfam is not currently in receipt of any funding from the Commission for international development projects or emergency relief.

President of the Overseas Aid and Development Commission, Deputy Emilie Yerby, says:

‘Our priority remains the people who are receiving international development aid and emergency relief. These are people who have lived through devastating disasters, or faced unremitting hardship throughout their lives. 

The fact that, in some cases, this has been compounded by the shocking behaviour of some aid workers is appalling and unacceptable. In light of these revelations, our focus, and that of the charities we work with, needs to be on doing aid better – on making sure that people who receive aid have nothing to fear from the people who should be helping them; and on setting and insisting on the highest standards of conduct and integrity within the sector.’  

The Commission has said it will closely monitor the investigations, and will use any developments to determine what action may need to be taken in the future.

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