Oxfam sees funding suspended amid latest sexual misconduct scandal

Oxfam has suspended two members of its staff as part of an investigation into allegations of bullying, sexual misconduct and abuses of power.

The move has been taken against the pair of Oxfam staffers working in the Democratic Republic of Congo during an external investigation that launched last year.

An Oxfam spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have suspended two members of Oxfam staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November, into allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct.”

“We are acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely,” added the spokesperson.

“We are working hard to conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively.”

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has now suspended funding for Oxfam during the investigation. The government has said it will not consider any new funding to the charity until the issues have been resolved.

Responding to the funding decision, the Oxfam spokesperson added: “The steps we are taking in the Democratic Republic of Congo reflect our commitment to tackle abuses of power. We are aware of the FCDO statement and are seeking further information.

“The Charity Commission and FCDO have been notified appropriately and we will continue to keep them informed as the investigation concludes its work.”

Oxfam had been recently praised by the Commission for making” significant improvements on safeguarding”.

This followed the Charity Commission removing Oxfam from statutory supervision after being impressed with its response to extra scrutiny, following safeguarding scandals at the charity in recent years.

This had related to sexual misconduct involving staff in Haiti and Chad and subsequent attempts to cover them up.

The charity’s chief executive Mark Goldring resigned in 2018 and his replacement Danny Sriskandarajah has since looked to transform the organisation.

Earlier this year MPs called for charities, which employ staff found to be committing sexual abuse, to have their funding withdrawn.

Also earlier this year, a report by the House of Commons international development committee warned that aid workers are continuing to abuse and exploit vulnerable beneficiaries in developing countries.

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