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Oxfam suspends two aid workers over allegations of sexual exploitation in DRC

Oxfam has been providing humanitarian aid in DR Congo since 1971

British charity Oxfam said it had suspended two staff in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for allegations of sexual exploitation and intimidation.

The charity said the suspensions were part of an “external investigation” put in place last November into the allegations.

His statement follows a Times newspaper article that whistleblowers were “frustrated with the length of time it took to complete the investigation.”

Oxfam was hit by a scandal in 2018 involving its aid workers in Haiti.

The charity has been accused of covering up the use of prostitutes by some staff who were in the country after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Oxfam denied a cover-up but apologized for its mistakes in handling the scandal, set up an independent labor practices commission and stopped bidding for UK government funding.

How the Oxfam scandal unfolded in Haiti

The charity had only recently been allowed to resume applying for government funding, the Times reports.

The newspaper says a 10-page letter signed by more than 20 Oxfam staff, current and former, was sent to the organization’s leadership in February.

He made allegations against 11 people that included sexual exploitation, intimidation, fraud and nepotism, and said whistleblowers had faced “threats to their lives.”

Some of the complaints dated back to 2015, and the letter said staff had “lost faith in Oxfam’s promises of accountability and in the principles Oxfam stands for.”

In its statement, Oxfam said the Charity Commission was informed at the start of the investigation of the latest allegations and is being kept informed of its progress.

“We are keenly aware of our duty to survivors, including helping them to express themselves safely,” the charity said. “We are working hard to conclude the investigation in a fair, safe and efficient manner.”

Oxfam, on its website, says it has worked in the DRC since 1961 and “currently provides safe drinking water, sanitation and emergency food to around 700,000 displaced people, refugees and host communities.”

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