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Oxfam response to the UK Parliament's International Development Committee report
Responding to the UK House of Commons International Development Committee's report Sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, Caroline Thomson, Oxfam GB’s Chair of Trustees, said:
"Today's report makes for incredibly painful reading for me, for everyone at Oxfam and for the aid sector as a whole. Oxfam exists to help improve the lives of the world's most vulnerable people; we know we failed to protect vulnerable women in Haiti, and we accept we should have reported more clearly at the time - for that we are truly sorry. We have made improvements since 2011 but recognize we have further to go.
"The Committee is right to challenge all of us in the sector to do better – we need to give the same sustained priority to preventing and tackling sexual abuse as we do to saving lives during humanitarian emergencies. Victims and survivors must be at the heart of our approach and the report's recommendations demand serious attention.
"Oxfam is committed to the safety and dignity of everyone who interacts with us. We are determined to strengthen women’s rights within Oxfam and in the communities in which we work. Since February, as part of our comprehensive action plan, we have tripled funding for safeguarding, established an independent whistleblowing helpline and committed to publish details of safeguarding cases twice a year."
On 16 February 2018, Oxfam announced a ten-point action plan to improve its safeguarding policies and practices. A summary of the plan is available here.
Progress toward the action plan was published last week and we will update regularly on further progress.
On 16 March 2018, Oxfam appointed an Independent Commission to review its culture and safeguarding systems. The Commission is co-chaired by Zainab Bangura, a former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, and Katherine Sierra, a former Vice-President of the World Bank. They lead an independent group of international experts from the realms of business, government and civil society.
Anna Ratcliff: +44 7796993288 / firstname.lastname@example.org / @ratcliff_anna
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More on Oxfam's work on Gender justice and women's rights