Haiti suspends Oxfam aid work pending investigation into sexual misconduct

A latrine project led and financed by Oxfam at a camp in Port-au-Prince Haiti in January 2011

Oxfam Great Britain will not be allowed to operate in Haiti for the next two months after it was suspended following sexual misconduct claims.

Haiti is investigating how Oxfam Great Britain responded to reports that some of its staff used prostitutes while working in the country in the aftermath of the January 2010 natural disaster, said Aviol Fleurant, minister of planning and external cooperation.

An investigation conducted by Oxfam a year after the quake had found that 7 staff were accused of using prostitutes at an Oxfam-funded residence.

It comes after a meeting between Oxfam bosses and the Haitian government on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Haiti's Planning and External Cooperation Minister said that the decision had been made on the grounds of "serious failings" by Oxfam between 2010 and 2011.

An Oxfam spokeswoman said the charity had vowed to co-operate with Haiti's investigation and "apologised to the Haitian government and people for abuses by former staff that occurred in 2011".

Seven of Oxfam's workers were sacked or resigned after the charity launched the internal investigation into allegations about the behaviour of staff in Haiti.

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The charity formally apologised to Haiti on Monday over the prostitution scandal rocking the aid charity.

Oxfam's chief executive told MPs this week that it has received 26 new allegations of sexual misconduct since the scandal went public.

Oxfam officials apologized for downplaying the significance of the misconduct.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt has suggested Oxfam may have "deliberately" misled over the Haiti allegations in order to try and protect their reputation.

Oxfam denied a cover-up but its handling of the scandal is being investigated by the Charity Commission.

Since then, thousands of people have canceled donations to the group in anger.

Last week, the charity announced an action plan to tackle sexual harassment and abuse, including creating a new vetting system for staff.

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