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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Oxfam’s UK chief says critics are gunning for the charity

CEO Goldring: ‘What did we do? We murdered babies in their cots?’

Oxfam boss Mark Goldring (L) complains that critics are gunning for the charity  EPA/STR
Oxfam boss Mark Goldring (L) complains that critics are gunning for the charity EPA/STR

The head of the British wing of Oxfam claims that his charity is being unduly criticised over the sex scandal and claims the episode is being used to attack the international aid industry.

Mark Goldring, the chief executive, said that critics were “gunning” for Oxfam and that the criticism was out of proportion after revelations that senior staff has paid sex workers in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

“The intensity and the ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do?” he said in an interview with the Guardian. “We murdered babies in their cots? Certainly, the scale and the intensity of the attacks feels out of proportion to the level of culpability.”

Mr Goldring has faced calls from two former ministers to resign over an affair that took place before he took control of the charity.

He declined to say whether he thought that Oxfam’s problems were being exploited for those favouring a cut in spending on UK aid projects.

Mr Goldring’s combative response follows days of criticisms over the charity’s response to the crisis as fresh cases of exploitation involving Oxfam and the wider charity sector have emerged.

He has apologised over the incident – but his interview published Friday was at odds with comments by the charity’s global head who urged victims of abuse to come forward, and said that the exploitation was a stain that shames the charity.

“I’m here for all the women who have been abused. I want them to come forward and for justice to be done for them,” Winnie Byanyima told the BBC.

Oxfam sacked four workers and let three others resign over the scandal but the government and charity regulators have criticised Oxfam for a lack of transparency.