Minister calls for assurances from NGOs in wake of Oxfam allegations

This Morning

Actor Minnie Driver has stepped down as the ambassador of Oxfam International, after supporting the charity for 20 years, amid sex scandal claims hit the organisation.

The European commission, which also gives as much funding as the United Kingdom government to Oxfam said that "We are ready to review and if needed cease funding any partner who is not living up to the required high ethical standards".

"I am nothing short of horrified by the allegations against Oxfam International", the Good Will Hunting actress wrote in a statement to United Kingdom newspaper The Telegraph.

Oxfam - which employs around 5,000 staff and has 23,000 more volunteers - recorded 87 incidents past year, referring 53 to the police or authorities and dismissing 20 staff or volunteers, according to the paper.

Four members of Oxfam staff were dismissed and three, including the country director Roland van Hauwermeiren, resigned before the end of the 2011 investigation.

The leadership of Oxfam, where deputy director Penny Lawrence has already resigned, also faces questions about what it did to address sexual misconduct more broadly.

She said the fall-out from the scandal, where aid workers were accused of using Haitian prostitutes following the country's devastating natural disaster in 2010, should be a "wake-up call" to the aid sector.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau spoke with both of Oxfam's Canadian affiliates Monday, days after reports that several former aid workers from Oxfam Great Britain paid for sex while on missions in Haiti and Chad.

The actress later said on Twitter that she was "devastated by the response" of Oxfam which she had been "raising awareness for since I was nine years old".

Oxfam received £31.7 million (35.7 million euros, $43.8 million) from state coffers previous year.

Ms Mordaunt said her criticism was not directed exclusively at aid workers accused of exploiting people in Haiti but at "the way the organisation responded".

In a tweet in French, Haiti's President Jovenel Moise called charity's actions in Haiti an "extremely serious violation of human dignity".

She also said her department had created a new safeguarding unit to urgently look into how we can stop sexual abusers and predators being reemployed by charities.

Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, said: "I deeply respect Penny's decision to accept personal responsibility".

Oxfam is not the first non-governmental organisation to be accused of abuse.

"We have robust safeguarding and whistle-blowing policies and practices in place to ensure that vulnerable people are protected", he said.

In a statement, Oxfam Quebec said it was shocked and outraged by the Haiti allegations.

Mourdaunt warned Monday that Oxfam could lose more than $44 million in annual funding from her government unless it was forthcoming with full details of the scandal.

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