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Published: Sat, February 17, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

MSF Fires 19 Staff Members over Sex Abuse Cases

MSF Fires 19 Staff Members over Sex Abuse Cases

The National Crime Agency is "closely monitoring" allegations of abuse by Oxfam staff and other aid agencies amid government warnings about public funding.

Meanwhile, the Paris-based charity Doctors Without Borders announced it had acted on 24 cases of harassment or sexual abuse previous year.

The Times newspaper reported last Friday that some Oxfam staff paid for sex with prostitutes in Haiti after the country's 2010 natural disaster.

U.K. Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has warned that government funding to the group - some £31.7 million pounds (about $43.8 million US) - is at risk unless it comes clean about the allegations.

Oxfam didn't give the specifics of what happened even to the United Kingdom government, UK's worldwide development secretary Penny Mordaunt said, according to The Guardian.

"The recent revelations about Oxfam - not exclusively the actions perpetrated by a number of those staff, but the way the organisation responded to those events - should be a wake-up call to the sector".

The accusations also put the charity in danger of losing its British government funding.

While Oxfam is big and influential money is tight and any threat to institutional support could cripple the charity.

Amira Malik Miller, a Swedish aid official who was working for Merlin as Mr Hauwermeiren's assistant, told her bosses about his "shameless" behaviour. When she saw a report about Van Hauwermeiren in The Times last week, she remembered thinking: "Oh my God, he's been doing this for 14 years". "Someone should have checked properly".

Yesterday evening, people who pay monthly direct debits to Oxfam Ireland received a statement from Oxfam Ireland's chief executive, Jim Clarken, stressing that he feels "deep shame in the behaviour of those who failed to uphold our values".

Known for the films "Good Will Hunting", "Grosse Point Blank" and "Hope Springs", Driver said in a statement she was "nothing short of horrified" by the allegations, the BBC reported on Wednesday.

In addition, Hauwermeiren, 68, admitted to having prostitutes brought to a villa in Haiti rented for him by Oxfam, the internal report stated.

"They let perpetrators go". They did not inform donors, their regulator or prosecuting authorities.

Oxfam said it now had a dedicated safeguarding team, a confidential whistleblowing hotline, and safeguarding contact point within countries, but Mordaunt said that doesn't matter if "the moral leadership at the top of the organisation isn't there". It said it had fired 19 employees.

He was hired in 2014 and provided two references, including one sent from a private email account by someone who said they had been his manager at Oxfam.

However, an Oxfam spokesperson also told the corporation they received 78 single gift donations on Tuesday, the highest number since the year began.

Oxfam has some 20 ambassadors, among them Dame Helen Mirren, Bill Nighy and Annie Lennox, who have not said whether they will continue to support the charity, whose fall from grace has deeply affected the entire nation.

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