• Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Haiti president says many aid organizations hid misconduct

  • Published at 03:01 pm February 17th, 2018
Haiti president says many aid organizations hid misconduct

Haiti's president said on Friday that sexual misconduct by staff of British charity Oxfam was only the tip of an "iceberg" and called for investigations into Doctors Without Borders and other aid organizations which came to the country after its 2010 earthquake.

"The Oxfam case is the visible part of the iceberg," President Jovenel Moise said in a phone interview with Reuters on Friday. "It is not only Oxfam, there are other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) in the same situation, but they hide the information internally."

The scandal has already shaken the aid sector, with Britain and the European Union reviewing Oxfam’s funding.

Oxfam, one of the world's biggest disaster relief charities, apologized this week for unspecified sexual misconduct uncovered in a 2011 internal investigation. It has neither confirmed nor denied a recent Times of London report that some of its staff paid for sex with prostitutes.

"There should be an investigation into other organizations that have been working here since 2010," said Moise. "For example, Doctors Without Borders had to repatriate about 17 people for misconduct which was not explained," he added.

It was not clear what cases Moise was referring to.

Geneva-based Doctors Without Borders, known as Medecins Sans Frontieres in non-English speaking countries, is looking into Moise's comments and welcomes scrutiny on the aid sector, said spokeswoman Analia Lorenzo. She added that the organization had zero tolerance of sexual misconduct.

On Wednesday, Doctors Without Borders, which sends medical staff around the world to regions stricken with war and disease, said it had dealt with 24 cases of sexual harassment or abuse among its 40,000 staff last year, and dismissed 19 people as a result. It did not provide details of where the harassment or abuse took place, who was dismissed or whether the complaints were also registered with local law enforcement.


Roland Van Hauwermeiren, the former Oxfam official at the centre of the sex abuse scandal, said on Thursday he made mistakes by having a sexual relationship with the sister of a recipient of aid when working in Haiti but denied paying for sex with prostitutes or abusing minors.

In an open letter to a broadcaster in his native Belgium, he said he feared that Oxfam, other aid workers and those they help would suffer from false accusations.

"We call on the Belgian and UK government to assume their responsibility, and we call on the whole international community to help make sure those guilty of such misconduct are punished, whether they are Belgian or of another nationality," Moise said. "The dignity of the Haitian people has been trampled on."

Haitian Justice Minister Heidi Fortune told Reuters on Wednesday he had asked Belgium for help in starting legal action against Van Hauwermeiren. He did not say which laws he believed were broken.

Belgium's Justice Ministry said on Thursday it had received no such request and prosecutors said they were not aware of any investigation into Van Hauwermeiren. Belgium does not extradite its citizens to countries outside the European Union.

Prostitution is a crime in Haiti, but it was not clear what other crimes the Oxfam officials may have committed.

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail