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Oxfam faces fresh claim of abuse in South Sudan

Published : Wednesday, 14 February, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 277
Deputy chief resigns

LONDON, Feb 13 : Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling on Tuesday after fresh claims of sexual assault and rape, this time between aid workers in South Sudan.
Helen Evans, former global head of safeguarding, also warned of assaults on children volunteering in Oxfam's hundreds of high-street charity shops in Britain.
She accused senior managers of failing to act, heaping pressure on chief executive Mark Goldring just hours after his deputy resigned over a scandal involving aid workers' use of prostitutes in Haiti. Evans told Channel 4 News of a survey conducted during her 2012-2015 tenure which exposed a "culture of sexual abuse" in some Oxfam offices.
The survey of 120 staff across three countries found between 11 and 14 percent said they witnessed or experienced sexual assault. Seven percent of staff in South Sudan -- four people -- witnessed or experienced rape or attempted rape involving colleagues.
She said she asked to take her findings to the senior leadership team at Oxfam, but the meeting was cancelled and Goldring said that discussing the report would not take things any further.
Oxfam deputy chief Penny Lawrence resigned on Monday, saying: "As programme director at the time, I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility."
"Over the last few days, we have become aware that concerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed adequately to act upon.
"It is now clear that these allegations " involving the use of prostitutes and which related to the behaviour of both the country director and members of his team in Chad " were raised before he moved to Haiti," Lawrence said.    AFP





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