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Oxfam worker says she feels ‘under attack for being white’

An Oxfam worker said she felt ‘under attack for being white, English and voting Leave’ as staff vented their anger at being asked to fill in a racial justice survey.

Staff members in the UK were asked if they would describe themselves as non-racist, anti-racist or none/neither in the questionnaire, written by a four-person strong working group and sent to 1,800 employees.

Along with the questions – which also ask participants to state their ethnicity – the survey states that ‘all echelons of power, to some degree, exist to serve whiteness (whether by legacy, the presence of neo-colonialism or cultural imperialism)’. 

It also states racism is ‘a power construct created by white nations for the benefit of white people’.

Some 88 per cent of Oxfam staff in Britain are white.

An Oxfam worker said she felt ‘under attack for being white, English and voting Leave’ as staff vented their anger at being asked to fill in a racial justice survey. Pictured: An Oxfam fundraiser in Cumbria in 2016

One survey respondent said she felt ‘under attack for being white, English and voting Leave’, The Times reports.

Another added: ‘Surely the time and money should be better spent on the real findings that some of the men they employ are sexual predators?’

Earlier this month, Oxfam sacked three workers after an investigation into claims its staff used prostitutes, issued death threats and committed fraud in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  

Allegations were also upheld against a fourth individual who had been suspended during the investigation and whose contract with Oxfam expired before the end of the disciplinary process. 

The charity said the claims that had been found to be true following an external investigation included sexual misconduct by two members of staff and nepotism by three. 

One worker was found to have engaged in bullying and intimidation, while another had an ‘inappropriate relationship’ and failed to ‘manage conflicts of interest’.

Oxfam said that a number of further claims were investigated but ‘were not substantiated’ but did not specify which these were. 

An additional member of staff is still being investigated while being suspended. 

The probe came just weeks after Oxfam was cleared to apply for government aid funds again following the Haiti scandal.

The inquiry, which began in November last year, concerned allegations of intimidation, death threats, fraud, and nepotism, The Times reported. 

But whistleblowers said they raised concerns about the alleged misconduct as far back as 2015.

Oxfam has been operating in the DRC since 1961. 

The charity employs 273 staff whose work concentrates mainly water and sanitation projects among vulnerable communities.

Oxfam has been operating in the DRC since 1961. The charity employs 273 staff whose work concentrates mainly water and sanitation projects among vulnerable communities (file photo)

Oxfam has been operating in the DRC since 1961. The charity employs 273 staff whose work concentrates mainly water and sanitation projects among vulnerable communities (file photo)

The latest allegations were written in a ten-page letter sent to the charity’s leaders in Oxford in February.

The letter made various allegations about 11 individuals and was signed by 20 former and current Oxfam staff.

The letter said: ‘We hope that the DRC does not become another example of Oxfam’s failure to prevent power abuses following the Haiti media exposé in 2018 and Oxfam’s explicit commitment to do better.’

In February Oxfam was released from strict supervision by the charity watchdog following ‘significant’ reforms after the Haiti aid workers sex abuse scandal.

In 2018 it emerged that some Oxfam workers had engaged in ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes after the 2010 Haiti earthquake disaster.

Four employees were fired for ‘gross misconduct’ and three others, including the charity director in Haiti Roland Van Hauwermeiren, left the charity.

Four employees were fired for 'gross misconduct' and three others, including the charity director in Haiti Roland Van Hauwermeiren (pictured), left the charity

Four employees were fired for ‘gross misconduct’ and three others, including the charity director in Haiti Roland Van Hauwermeiren (pictured), left the charity

Oxfam later offered its ‘humblest apologies’ to Haiti.

In the aftermath of the scandal thousands of people stopped making regular donations to the charity, which was founded in 1942.

The Foreign Office earlier said that it was aware of Oxfam’s investigation and added: ‘All organisations bidding for UK aid must meet the high standards of safeguarding we require and do everything in their power to keep the people they work with safe.’ 

MailOnline has approached Oxfam for comment on the survey.


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