By Muhammad Mussa
London (AA) - The head of Oxfam Mark Goldring Tuesday has apologized to British MPs for acts of sexual harassment and misconduct committed by staff following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, during questioning by the International Development Committee on Tuesday.
Local media also revealed that 7,000 people had canceled their donations to Oxfam in the week that revealed staff had sexually exploited victims in Haiti.
Goldring also acknowledged that the actions undertaken by the staff in question had damaged the image of Oxfam and other aid agencies and had put their trust into question.
“I was correct in telling you that there were 26 cases that have come forward. Of those, 16 are in our international programs,” Goldring told the committee, according to Sky News.
“We really want people to come forward wherever they are and whenever this happened,” he added.
Goldring became head of Oxfam in 2013. He said that Roland Van Hauwermeiren, Oxfam’s director in Haiti, should not have been allowed to resign when his role in the scandal had been revealed.
Chair of the committee, Labour MP Stephen Twigg, said that it was shocking the number of times Goldring had to apologize in the two-hour session.
Goldring also apologized for his comments on playing down the seriousness of the scandal. Earlier last week, in an interview with the Guardian newspaper, Goldring said the charity was being attacked as though “we murdered babies in their cots”, adding that he had not slept properly for nearly a week.
“I have tried hard to balance work and sleep over the last two weeks. The results, I believe, are that I’m continuing to do my job and I’m continuing to make appropriate decisions. I hope I have led Oxfam competently, but that’s for others to decide” he said.
Oxfam has said that it would now overhaul its recruitment and vetting procedures and rather than conduct its own inquiries into allegations of sexual abuse, it will submit them to an independent commission to investigate.