Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has resigned as an ambassador for Oxfam, saying he is “deeply disappointed” about the charity’s sex scandal.
The resignation came amid fresh turmoil at the charity, which admitted on Thursday that it had rehired one of the workers it had sacked in a sexual misconduct scandal in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.
In a statement, Tutu’s office said:
“Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has supported Oxfam International’s good work for many years, most recently as one of its Global Ambassadors.
The archbishop is deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity.
He is also saddened by the impact of the allegations on the many thousands of good people who have supported Oxfam’s righteous work.”
His office added he had now written to the charity to inform them of his retirement as a Global Ambassador.
Tutu’s resignation over the scandal follows that of actor Minnie Driver, who gave up her own role as the Ambassador earlier this week.
Tutu’s decision came as the figure at the centre of the Oxfam scandal, the charity’s former country director for Haiti, Roland van Hauwermeiren, denied some of the allegations against him in an open letter to a broadcaster in his native Belgium. He said in the letter he did not want to cast himself as a victim but feared that Oxfam, other aid workers and those they help would suffer from false accusations.
In the four-page letter, seen by Reuters, he accused an unnamed former employee of being the source of reports that have shaken the global humanitarian community and prompted Britain and the EU to review funding for Oxfam.
“I am not a saint. I am a man of flesh and blood and I have made mistakes (not easy to admit) and I am DEEPLY ASHAMED,”
the 68-year-old former soldier wrote in Dutch to broadcaster VTM.
The atmosphere of chaos swirling around Oxfam also deepened as the organisation admitted a “serious error” in rehiring one of those accused of sexual misconduct as a consultant in Ethiopia. The man was one of the staff who was sacked or resigned in 2011 over a string of lurid claims, including that they had used prostitutes while delivering aid to Haiti.
The agency said in a statement it had identified that “one of those dismissed by Oxfam as a result of the sexual misconduct case in Haiti” was “subsequently hired by Oxfam as a consultant in Ethiopia”.
The charity is now checking whether there were “any issues” while the man was posted in Ethiopia.
Oxfam is an international confederation of twenty organizations working together with partners and local communities in more than ninety countries. It works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. They save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes and campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.
Source: The Guardian