Oxfam suspends DR Congo staff over allegations of sexual misconduct | News from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The UK charity said two staff members were suspended as part of an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and bullying.

British charity Oxfam said it had suspended two staff in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of an investigation launched last year into allegations of sexual misconduct and intimidation.

Oxfam, which works in 67 countries, sent a statement to the AFP news agency saying it had suspended two staff “as part of an ongoing external investigation, which we set up last November”.

He said this concerned “allegations of abuse of power, including intimidation and sexual misconduct.”

The charity said it reported this to the Charity Commission, a government department that regulates charities.

The Times newspaper on Friday ran a front-page article titled: “Oxfam Shaken by New Sexual Allegations Against Aid Workers”.

He said he saw a letter on the situation in the DRC, signed by current and former Oxfam staff and sent to charity officials in February, claiming “abuse of power” and “threats to their lives” and making allegations against 11 people.

He said whistleblowers had raised concerns about allegations of misconduct in the DRC aid mission since 2015.

Oxfam’s statement says it “is working hard to bring the investigation to a fair, safe and effective”.

Haiti scandal

The anti-poverty charity was hit by a major scandal in 2018 over the way it treated staff in Haiti who admitted to using prostitutes, after the British daily The Times reported on the matter.

The director-general resigned after it emerged that several of the aid workers in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake had been allowed to resign, including the then national director.

The scandal sparked wider revelations about the lack of protection in the international charitable sector.

In March, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab authorized Oxfam to reapply for state aid funds for the first time in three years after the Charity Commission said it had made “significant progress” in the safeguard since the 2018 scandal. Oxfam had received some 30 million pounds ($ 41 million) in state aid funds per year.

Sarah Champion, chair of the Commons international development committee, told The Times that the latest scandal shows that “existing safeguards and oversight mechanisms just aren’t working.”

Oxfam announced in 2020 that it was closing 18 offices and cutting nearly 1,500 jobs due to a drop in funds linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

Oxfam’s work in the DRC includes providing clean water and education on preventing Ebola transmission, according to its website.

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