Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Quote of the day

"What this crisis must not be allowed to do is undermine the case for generous aid spending as both a moral obligation and as pragmatic policy. The Oxfam case involves fewer men than can be counted on two hands. The courageous and dedicated efforts of thousands of its employees have saved millions of lives in the most gruelling and dangerous circumstances. They and their peers in other charities deserve the best defence. That means honesty and transparency, and a conspicuous determination to root out anyone who threatens their reputation for it."

The Guardian's editorial comment on the Haiti sex parties strikes exactly the right note: it acknowledges the severity of the allegations and the seriousness of the failings in the way those allegations were handled, while stressing that the situation shouldn't be used as ammunition for those on the right of the political spectrum who relish any opportunity to attack foreign aid policy. Put simply, it's vitally important that not everyone is tarred with the same brush.

That said, the Guardian have also published a piece by Shaista Aziz, a former aid worker, who claims that the allegations aren't all that surprising and that bullying, racism and discrimination are endemic within NGOs like Oxfam. Nevertheless, even she stresses that cutting off government funding "is clearly not the answer" - whereas an independent regulator armed with the appropriate powers to be able to properly investigate such allegations certainly is.

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