Inquiry launched into sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector

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The International Development Committee has launched an inquiry into sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, and is now calling for evidence.

The committee’s inquiry follows its initial evidence session last month, where representatives from Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK and the Department for International Development gave evidence. It was announced at the time that an official inquiry would be launched.

It follows reports which have emerged in recent weeks about safeguarding concerns within aid charities, and of concerns that beneficiaries may have been exploited. These allegations have continued to emerge since stories first broke of improper practices by Oxfam employees in Haiti.

Individuals and organisations are being invited to submit written evidence addressing the issues the committee has outlined. This includes evidence on DfID’s performance in ensuring that “UK humanitarian relief, and official development assistance, is delivered with maximum impact according to its aims and objectives and – at the very least – without ignoring, tolerating, or contributing to, circumstances in which the exploitation or abuse of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people can take place”.

‘Allegations of abuse of beneficiaries’

It said its key concern is allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of the intended “recipients and beneficiaries of humanitarian and development aid by aid sector workers, peacekeepers, or others supported by UK aid (both bilateral and multilateral) in recipient countries”.

It is also asking for proposals for new approaches to safeguarding within the aid sector to tackle these problems.

It said that evidence relating to allegations of related misconduct within aid sector organisations may also be considered “for the light shed on those organisations’ values, priorities, incentives and governance processes, including their relationships with DfID”.

Submissions received by the committee which contain specific allegations may be referred to the appropriate authorities.

The deadline for submitting evidence to the committee is Friday 6 April 2018. Full details of the scope of the committees inquiry, and of how to submit evidence, can be found here.

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