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Humanitarian aid workers should be subject to the same regulations, including background checks, as other sectors which work with children and vulnerable adults, aid bosses told members of Parliament during a special Parliamentary hearing called in the wake of the Oxfam sexual exploitation scandal.
The proposal came amid a flood of other planned regulations and recommendations as Britain’s Parliamentary aid watchdog, the International Development Committee, hosted an emergency evidence on the issue of sexual exploitation in the aid sector.
Amidst the apologies, much of the three-hour session was dedicated to proposed reforms aimed at strengthening safeguarding efforts by NGOs, including requests from Goldring, and also Save the Children UK boss Kevin Watkins, for lawmakers to consider taking the necessary legislative and other steps to make background checking of candidates easier.
Specifically, Goldring called on MPs to back plans for “humanitarian passports” — a concept Oxfam said it has been working with other agencies to push forward, he said and as Devex previously reported.
Winnie Byanyima, the charity’s international executive director also appeared before MPs and apologized for Oxfam’s failings. She spoke of there being a “big cultural issue” within Oxfam which allowed “some hideous people” to come into the organization, abuse vulnerable people, and then leave with recommendations from the institution.
Furthermore, Byanyima said that as part of a slew of reforms announced by Oxfam last week, the charity has since launched a “global database of accredited referees” designed to prevent forged, dishonest or unreliable references being provided by past or current staff — something the charity had been working on before the scandal came to light, she said.
Read the full article about safeguards and regulations by Sophie Edwards at Devex.