KINSHASA, 2 April 2021 – Two staff members of the international charity, Oxfam, have been suspended over allegations of sexual exploitation and bullying.
The suspensions are part of an “external investigation” set up last November into the allegations, Oxfam said Thursday in a statement.
A petition letter to the leadership of Oxfam raised allegations against eleven people, including accusations of sexual, bullying, fraud and nepotism.
The petition said whistleblowers had faced “threats to their lives” for flagging professional malpractice some of which date back to 2015.
Whistleblowers expressed frustrations “at the length of time taken to complete the investigation”, according to a report in late March 2021 by the Times newspaper.
“We are acutely aware of our duty to survivors, including in supporting them to speak out safely,” Oxfam said in a statement, pledging to “conclude the investigation fairly, safely and effectively”.
Oxfam came under fire in 2018 reportedly for covering up the use of prostitutes by some members of staff who were in Haiti following the devastating earthquake which hit that country in 2010.
Oxfam later apologized for the delay in releasing a report on the allegations, denying that it was part of a cover-up, and it stopped seeking funding from the UK government to continue providing assistance to victims of the earthquake in Haiti.