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Monday 5th September 2011 (Port au Prince): An internal investigation carried out by aid agency, Oxfam Great Britain, has confirmed cases of misconduct by a small number of its staff members working in Haiti.
The investigation found that six members of Oxfam GB staff had been involved in a number of instances of misconduct, the charges against them include:
- Breach of Oxfam GB´s behavioral code of conduct;
- bringing Oxfam´s name into disrepute;
- abuse of power and bullying within Oxfam.
None of these charges involved beneficiaries.
As a result of the internal investigation, disciplinary action has been taken and all six individuals have left the organization. None of them were Haitian and all have now left Haiti.
“Oxfam does not tolerate breaches of its code of conduct and whenever instances of staff misconduct are discovered we will take robust action against those involved,” said Penny Lawrence, Oxfam GB International Director.
“The action of these individuals is not representative of the strong commitment shown and the hard work carried out by Oxfam´s team in Haiti. Our staff have made a very real difference to people´s lives in the country following the devastating earthquake and they will continue to make a difference as we work with Haitians to help them re-build their lives.”
The misconduct identified by the investigation was not related to fraud and did not affect the approximately US$98 million Oxfam fundraised following the earthquake in Haiti. The remaining funds will continue to be used for the reconstruction of the country and helping communities in need.
“Oxfam has a commitment to high ethical standards in all the countries where we work,” Lawrence said. “We make sure that there are systems in place so that when misconduct is discovered, there are repercussions and penalties, which has proven effective in this instance. Lessons have been learned from this experience and we are reviewing how we reinforce adherence to our code of conduct in order to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent future misconduct issues from arising. Our programmes in Haiti have not been affected by the internal investigation and will continue to operate as normal.”
Oxfam GB´s Country Director in Haiti resigned taking managerial responsibility for issues that occurred while he was heading the programme.
Notes to editors
1. Oxfam has been working in Haiti since 1978. Oxfam helped approximately 700,000 people during the first phase of the humanitarian response to the 2010 earthquake and has assisted more than 500,000 Haitians through its cholera response programme. Oxfam is engaged in Haiti in long-term development programmes, helping to improve Haitian people’s livelihoods and build the capacity of local civil society.
2. Oxfam GB’s Chief Executive will be writing to all staff worldwide in reference to Haiti, reminding them of the Code of Conduct and reinforcing Oxfam’s expectations of their behavior.
3. Oxfam is an organization of integrity with strong principles of governance, transparency and accountability. Oxfam GB published its first annual accountability report in 2007. All reports are available on http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/accounts/#accountability
4. Oxfam GB has adopted the standards of both the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) Accountability Charter, and is a member of the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership.
5. Details on how Oxfam has spent the US$98 million it fundraised following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti can be found in our “Haiti Progress Report”
Roxanne Escobales +44 (0)7920 596 358 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Jen Corlew on +447879255705 or email@example.com in the UK
Ana Arendar in Haiti +509 3807 6960 or firstname.lastname@example.org