A few years ago film maker Ami Horowitz made a documentary, UN Me, which detailed the UN’s abuse of aid money and abuse of people they were sent to help.
The dirty dealings of international aid groups as well as the UN’s own groups, is a relatively unknown phenomenon here in Finland. Horowitz’s film simply would never be aired in Finland because of the UN’s status with Finnish politicians, the media and the public at large. That speaks greatly of the depth in the country’s political bias and media malfeasance.
NOTE: Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article, International Charities Sex Abuse and Israel, published here with the author’s consent, is an extended version of the article first published by Algemeiner.
INTERNATIONAL CHARITIES SEX ABUSE AND ISRAEL
The misbehavior of employees of the major British charity, Oxfam – part of Oxfam International — has recently made international headlines. Over the past weeks this has grown into a full-blown scandal of which only some aspects can be mentioned here. Many other aid organizations are involved in similar abuse.
The initial information concerned the cover up of the use of prostitutes by members of the Oxfam humanitarian mission to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The charity carried out an internal investigation in 2011 which led to the resignation of three staff members and the dismissal of four employees.1
The Oxfam scandal is only seemingly irrelevant for Israel. As NGO Monitor has detailed, Oxfam International and the branches in the UK,2 Netherlands3 and Belgium4 have frequently incited against Israel. Organizations which blame Israel for all that goes wrong in Gaza should not be considered political opponents. The way they politicize their aid activities turns them into part-time enemies.
The misbehavior of part-time enemies should be publicized like that of full-time perpetrators. The flood of misconduct by Oxfam includes withholding the detailed report on the Haiti scandal from the public for seven years. This was a widespread conspiracy. The head of the Dutch sister charity, Oxfam Novib, has admitted to having had access to the report in 2012 and has stated that she shared it with the Dutch Foreign Ministry and the country’s National Accounting Office.5
As it is unlikely that the Oxfam group of charities, even after this scandal, will refrain from maligning Israel, it is important to publicize the essence of what is known so far. A Haitian woman has come forward and said that the Oxfam mission director had sex with her twice a week for money when she was only 16 years old.6 There are also accusations of sexual abuse by members of Oxfam missions in Chad and Southern Sudan.7 One of the executives dismissed in 2011 for sex abuse in Haiti was rehired for another mission in Ethiopia by Oxfam.8
The aid workers’ culture was described by a person who worked for Oxfam in Indonesia after the 2004 tsunami. He said that, while one could smell the dead bodies in the air, Oxfam had set up a bar on the roof of their building. Workers from all the other aid organizations would flock there to drink the night away.9
The Oxfam Deputy Chief Executive, Penny Lawrence, resigned in 2018 in order to take responsibility for what she already knew in 2011. Another Oxfam executive, Helen Evans, resigned saying that there has also been sex abuse in the Oxfam shops in the UK.10 Under pressure Oxfam has now published the 2011 report on the Haiti scandal which states that three of the men accused of sexual misconduct physically threatened witnesses during the investigation.11
The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, has said that the Oxfam scandal is the ‘tip of the iceberg.” He added that other charities should also be investigated for covering up sex abuse in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.12 A report by Save the Children in 2007 already warned Oxfam among other charities about massive abuse of locals by UN agencies, government employees and NGO’s in some African countries.13 The UK minister, Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary, has accused Oxfam of a complete betrayal of trust.14
There is a further aspect to this issue. Oxfam has received important grants from the European Union and various governments including the British government. Minister Mordaunt has now agreed with Oxfam that it will not bid for new government funding until her department “is satisfied that they can meet the high standards we expect”.15
When Oxfam has sorted out this disgraceful situation one should hope that governments will make future funds available only on the condition that the organization limits itself to aid activities without political incitement. In the past years in fact several European governments and the EU have indirectly, through Oxfam, funded hatemongering against Israel.
It was also found that more than 120 staff from leading international charities were fired or lost their jobs in 2017 due to sexual misconduct. Justin Forsythe, the former chief executive of Save the Children, resigned from his position of Deputy Executive Director at Unicef. He did so after he admitted making ‘unsuitable and thoughtless comments’ to three young female staff members of Save the Children.16
The international aid group, Doctors without Borders, announced that it dealt with 24 cases of sexual harassment and dismissed 19 people in 2017.17 The international committee of the Red Cross said 21 staff members have been dismissed or resigned for paying for sexual services since 2015.18
An investigation by the Guardian found huge failure at the United Nations in dealing with complaints of employees in its offices around the world concerning sexual harassment. A culture of silence and cover up prevails.19
All of the above however pales against the behavior of some UN peacekeeper troops. As this author already pointed out in 2012, there are many examples of extreme crimes by UN peacekeepers including murders by soldiers of various nations.20