Haiti permanently bans Oxfam following sexual misconduct claims

Haiti permanently bans Oxfam following sexual misconduct claims

June 13 (UPI) — The Haitian government Wednesday permanently banned Oxfam from operating in the country after staff were accused of sexual misconduct.

The government said the decision to ban the Britain-based charity confederation was made due to “violation of Haitian legislation and serious breach of the principle of human dignity” following the 2010 earthquake.

“The NGO is therefore declared persona non grata,” said Haiti’s minister of planning and external cooperation, Aviol Fleurant.

Oxfam responded to Haiti’s decision by condemning the staff’s behavior and offering an apology to the country.

“The behavior of some former Oxfam staff working in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake was completely unacceptable,” the organization said. “We have apologized to the government and the Haitian people for what happened.”

Haiti’s decision to permanently ban Oxfam came after the country suspended its operations in February and Oxfam conducted an investigation into sexual misconduct involving staff members.

Oxfam, which has been in Haiti since 1978 and increased its presence after the earthquake, said it would continue to work in Haiti through affiliate members from Italy, Spain, and Quebec, Canada.

Oxfam Deputy Chief Executive Penny Lawrence resigned in February, saying she was “deeply sad” and “took full responsibility” for alleged sexual misconduct by staff in Chad and Haiti.

Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring also announced his resignation in May to allow someone else to rebuild the program following the misconduct.