Oxfam faces fresh accusations in Times over sexual misconduct

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The Times has published further allegations about historical misconduct by Oxfam staff in Haiti, claiming that one man remained in post for more than a year after being reported.

In a front page story on Saturday, The Times says it has seen a report which showed that Raphael Mutiku, who headed an Oxfam team working on water supplies in Haiti, was investigated in 2010 for misconduct, including sexual harassment of female colleagues and use of prostitutes, but was not dismissed until 2011.

Mutiku denies the use of prostitutes, the newspaper says, but acknowledges “appalling” conduct towards female members of staff.

The Times says it had seen an internal report which said that allowing him to remain in post “placed female Oxfam GB staff members at risk of further sexual harassment and sexual assault”.

One female whistleblower told the newspaper that she “lived in fear” but that it was her career which suffered after she raised concerns, because the charity told her she was “too weak” for aid work, and made “poor recommendations” about her.

Series of allegations

The most recent Times story follows a series of front pages about Oxfam’s decision to sack seven members of staff in 2011 for the use of prostitutes, which were critical of the charity because it did not reveal why the individuals were sacked, or do enough to ensure they did not end up in other aid posts.

Oxfam has repeatedly apologised for historical failings and said it improved its safeguarding in 2011, including introducing a policy forbidding the use of prostitutes by aid works. It has since introduced a series of further measures, including tripling its spending on safeguarding.

Oxfam has widely been reported as one of the best agencies at safeguarding. Several whistleblowers have since said that sexual misconduct is widespread among aid agency staff, and that significant changes are necessary to prevent harassment of female staff and use of prostitutes in other agencies.

On Friday it announced the people who would lead an independent commission looking at its safeguarding culture and processes. 

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