Oxfam’s deputy chief executive resigned on Monday, saying she took “full responsibility” for failing to act immediately in the sexual misconduct scandal involving the charity’s workers in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.
Penny Lawrence, Oxfam program director at the time, said she was “ashamed that this happened on my watch.”
At an emergency meeting on Monday with British government officials, Oxfam’s leaders “also made a full and unqualified apology” and spoke of a “deep sense of disgrace and shame,” British Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt said.
Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring and trustee chairwoman Caroline Thomson were at the meeting.
Mordaunt had threatened to pull public funding from Oxfam unless the charity revealed everything it knows about the Haiti allegations.
Still, it is unclear whether the resignation and the apology will quell the scandal, which first emerged when the Times last week reported that seven former Oxfam staff members who worked in Haiti faced misconduct allegations that included using prostitutes and downloading pornography.
Oxfam says it investigated the allegations in 2011 and then fired four people and let three others resign after uncovering sexual misconduct, bullying, intimidation and failure to protect staff.
Lawrence on Monday said that the allegations of sexual misconduct were first raised about some Oxfam staff in an earlier mission in Chad.
“It is now clear that these allegations — involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behavior of both the country director and members of his team in Chad — were raised before he moved to Haiti,” she said.
Mordaunt said the charity had agreed to provide full details about the perpetrators to their home countries so they can face possible prosecution.
“I told Oxfam they must now demonstrate the moral leadership necessary to address this scandal, rebuild the trust of the British public, their staff and the people they aim to help,” she said, describing the sexual abuses as “utterly despicable.”
Mordaunt said she had written to all UK charities that work overseas to demand they do more to protect vulnerable people from abuse.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and