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Tutu quits as Oxfam ambassador over aid agency's sex scandal

16 February 2018

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said he was "saddened by the impact of the allegations on the many thousands of good people who have supported Oxfam's righteous work".

The South African Anglican leader said he was "deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possibly criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity", which he had supported for many years.

Aviol Fleurant, Haiti's minister of planning and external cooperation, said Oxfam officials had been summoned to meet with his ministry staff on Thursday to explain the sexual misconduct accusations allegedly perpetrated by the charity's employees in the wake of the devastating 2010 natural disaster.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu resigns as Oxfam ambassador over charity's sex scandal
Desmond Tutu quits as Oxfam ambassador over staff sex scandal

Oxfam has admitted it made a "serious error" after it re-hired aid worker Gurpreet Singh to work on a short term contract in Ethiopia less than three months after he was sacked for sexual misconduct in Haiti.

He said: "I am not a saint".

In an open letter, Roland Van Hauwermeiren, 68, denied that a reception he hosted in Haiti was, as alleged, a sex party.

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He said he had "intimate relations" with a Haitian woman but insisted that she was not a prostitute.

The sex scandal has sparked public outrage, primarily due to the fact that Oxfam had conducted an internal investigation into the issue and decided not to make its outcome public, letting its employees leave voluntarily in 2011.

He said he had never visited a brothel or nightclub in Haiti and audits had "never shown that funds were used to finance excesses or sex parties".

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Mr Van Hauwermeiren has also been accused of using prostitutes while working for British health charity Merlin in Liberia from 2002-04, according to a former colleague who spoke to the IRIN website.

The former Haiti country director at the heart of the scandal denied on Thursday that he had paid for sex with prostitutes or abused minors.

The spokeswoman said the decision was a "serious error and should never have happened".

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Belgium's Justice Ministry said on Thursday it had received no request and federal prosecutors said they were not aware of any investigation into Van Hauwermeiren.

Tutu quits as Oxfam ambassador over aid agency's sex scandal