Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Melba Underwood

Oxfam Scandal: Minnie Driver Quits As Oxfam Ambassador After 'Abhorrent Mistakes'

Oxfam Scandal: Minnie Driver Quits As Oxfam Ambassador After 'Abhorrent Mistakes'

Good Will Hunting star Minnie Driver has stepped down from her role as an ambassador to charity Oxfam after it became embroiled in a major scandal.

Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling on February 13 after fresh claims of sexual assault and cover-up in South Sudan, as Haiti's president condemned the behavior of some of its staff in his country as "undignified and dishonest".

Oxfam said that they were "grateful" for the actress and her devotion to the charity in the last few years.

"I told Oxfam they must now demonstrate the moral leadership necessary to address this scandal, rebuild the trust of the British public, their staff and the people they aim to help, and deliver progress on these assurances", she added in a statement.

The head of mission in Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, wasforced to resign when Oxfam learned of the abuses.

Oxfam's deputy chief executive Penny Lawrence stepped down earlier this week over the handling of the scandal.

Oxfam has faced severe criticism for a lack of transparency over misconduct allegations against staff members accused of using prostitutes in Haiti following a devastating 2010 quake.

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".

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Former aid worker Amira Malik Miller said he resigned from Merlin, a British emergency relief organisation, in 2004 after an investigation revealed that senior staff had been sleeping with local sex workers.

"They knew what happened and they even said one of the reasons they did not report to the Haitian authorities is that they believed nothing would have been been done", he said.

Mordaunt said: "I know people will be anxious about the charity, they'll be anxious about the money, but we need to be guided by what the Charity Commission are doing. these decisions shouldn't be taken hastily, but I am considering them".

A spokeswoman said Mordaunt would discuss how her office and the NCA could work together to implement laws on sexual exploitation and abuse, but added that the meeting did not relate specifically to criminal activity involving Oxfam staff.

In a letter to all Scottish global development organisations, worldwide development minister Dr Alasdair Allan said the Scottish Government expects the "highest moral and ethical standards from those we fund" and would not "tolerate any form of human rights abuses or misconduct, wherever they take place".

In a statement, Oxfam said the actress had been a "devoted Oxfam supporter for many years".

The majority of Oxfam's 230 staff members working in Haiti at the time are not accused of doing anything improper, but a small group of male aid workers living in Delmas, near Port-au-Prince, allegedly turned a rented guesthouse into what a source told the Times the men called "the whorehouse".

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