Red Cross reveals 21 staff members paid for sex

British charity Plan International has also acknowledged dismissing staff over sexual misconduct

Palestinian farmers, allowed by Israel to tend their land in a buffer zone on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip for the first time since 2006, plant seeds with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)in a field on the eastern outskirts of the city of Rafah in southern Gaza on January 29, 2018.
A deal, brokered by the ICRC after lengthy negotiations, saw a number of farmers step foot on land they had not been able to access since Israel began imposing punitive measures on the Palestinian enclave more than a decade ago to isolate the strip's leaders Hamas.


 / AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB

Two more organisations have revealed serious cases of sexual misconduct among employees in the wake of a wave of accusations against several humanitarian organisations.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has revealed that 21 workers have either been sacked or resigned for sexual misconduct.
In a statement ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord labelled the behaviour "a betrayal".
In a message on Twitter, Mr Daccord said "This is a difficult but important day for the @ICRC. We are sharing information about sexual misconduct and other abuses of power in our organization"
A further statement added "I have instructed my teams to scour the data we do have on sexual misconduct, and I can tell you that since 2015 we've identified 21 staff members who were either dismissed for paying for sexual services or resigned during an internal enquiry. Another two staff members suspected of sexual misconduct did not have their contracts renewed.
"This behaviour is a betrayal of the people and the communities we are there to serve. It is against human dignity and we should have been more vigilant in preventing this," he added.
It also said that any future "complaints and allegations will be acted upon firmly and consistently. Any employee found to have violated the Code of Conduct will be held accountable."
The ICRC, which was founded in 1863, is one of the oldest charities in the world, and employs more than 17,000 staff across dozens of countries.

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Also drawn into the wave of allegations was British charity Plan International, which campaigns for children's rights and equality for girls. In a blog post, UK chief executive Tanya Barron admitted six cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of minors within the organisation between July 2016 and June 2017. Barron said "The painful but important truth to acknowledge is that sometimes things can go wrong. When they do, we are deeply sorry."
She added that none of the incidents involved British staff or citizens.
ICRC and Plan International is just the latest organisations to be drawn into a wave of sexual misconduct allegations regarding their employees, alongside Oxfam, Save the Children and Medecins Sans frontiers.
Earlier this month, The Times revealed that Oxfam's premises in Haiti had played host to prostitution, sometimes invovling minors. The charity was accused of covering up the incidents, and has since been barred from working in Haiti.
Speaking in the House of Commons this week, UK minister for International Development, Penny Mordaunt said the organisation had put its reputation ahead of its beneficiaries.
"I believe that their motivation appears to be the protection of the organisation's reputation. "They put that before those they were there to help and protect, which is a complete betrayal of trust, a betrayal of those who sent them there—the British people—and a betrayal of all those Oxfam staff and volunteers who put the people they serve first."

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