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The government of Haiti announced today that it will suspend Oxfam Great Britain’s operations in the country for two months while it investigates how Oxfam GB handled the case of some staff having used sex workers during the agency’s humanitarian response in 2011.
Oxfam will continue working on important reconstruction and development projects in Haiti helping people from among its other affiliate members (Italy, Spain and Quebec,) but anticipates that Oxfam GB’s temporary suspension will have a significant impact on its work. Oxfam helps 750,000 people in Haiti, concentrating more now on their longer-term development needs. Oxfam’s annual program budget is over 16 million USD, of which OGB contributes almost 4 million USD.
Oxfam International Regional Director Simon Ticehurst and Oxfam Intermon Executive Affiliate Unit head Margalida Massot met government officials today and committed to cooperate with their investigation. This is part of Oxfam's long road ahead to re-establishing trust and partnership, given our 40-year history with Haiti and its citizens. We will stand ready to engage with the people of Haiti and have expressed our openness to collaborate as much as required with the Haiti Government
Oxfam has apologized for abuses by former staff committed in 2011 and apologized to the Haitian government and people, including for procedures that were inadequate at the time and are still in need of strengthening today. Oxfam International has announced a number of sweeping initiatives to improve its global safeguarding policies and practices, including the establishment of an independent commission and putting more staff and resources into its safeguarding teams.