Relief organization expects drop in donations

Relief organization expects drop in donations

After abuse cases became known, the aid organization Oxfam draws consequences. External experts are to investigate the extent of the incidents. In addition, the aid organization wants to regain lost trust.

After sexual abuse cases at Oxfam, the aid organization has announced consequences. An external commission of inquiry with leading international women's rights experts will comprehensively examine sexual violence and sexual exploitation, organizational culture and processes. In return, she said, she should also have access to internal documents of the aid organization, which has around 10,000 employees worldwide.000 employees, said the managing director of Oxfam Germany, Marion Lieser, in Berlin on Friday.

Action plan

A ten-point action plan also calls for doubling the number of staff worldwide to protect against sexual abuse, exploitation and harassment, and tripling the annual budget for this to more than $1 million, he said. This was the aid organization's reaction to reports that there had been incidents of sexual abuse by Oxfam staff during an emergency aid mission in Haiti in 2011. Among other things, sex parties with prostitutes are alleged to have been celebrated.

The aid agency has since parted ways with six former employees who worked in Haiti, Lieser said.

Similar incidents had also occurred in Chad in 2006. A total of 87 cases of sexual abuse have been registered internally by Oxfam so far, Lieser said. Other aid organizations such as "Doctors Without Borders" and the "International Rescue Committee" have also publicized cases of sexual assault in recent days.

External commission of inquiry

There may also have been cases of abuse in other countries, Lieser said. The external commission of inquiry will begin its work in the coming weeks. Discussions are currently being held between Oxfam and international experts. Lieser announced that a final report is expected about six months after the start of the commission of inquiry, which will then be presented to the public. Oxfam expects a drop in donations after the cases of abuse became known. "We will have to fight for the trust people have lost," Lieser said.

Decline in donations feared

Meanwhile, other aid organizations also fear declines in donations. It is understandable "that the disgust is particularly great when something like this happens in the context of aid organizations that have a very high ethical standard and that actually want to help," said the chairman of the Association for Development Policy (Venro), Bernd Bornhorst, in the Inforadio of the radio station Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). Venro is the umbrella organization of over 120 church and private aid organizations.

In order to avert lasting damage, it is important to make clear, in addition to comprehensive clarification, "that we always have to deal with sexual violence and sexual assaults where there are power imbalances. In addition, it must be made clear that the incidents were "nothing systemic" but "the misconduct of individual employees," explained Bornhorst.

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