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UK halts Oxfam funding

The British government said on Thursday it had suspended funding for Oxfam.

The decision came after the aid charity suspended two staff members in the Democratic Republic of Congo over claims of sexual misconduct and bullying.

“All organizations bidding for UK aid must meet the high standards of safeguarding required to keep the people they work with safe,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.

“Given the most recent reports which call into question Oxfam’s ability to meet those standards, we will not consider any new funding to Oxfam until the issues have been resolved.”

The charity, which works in 67 countries, said on Friday that it had suspended the two staff members as part of an external investigation that began in November.

It said this was over “allegations of abuses of power, including bullying and sexual misconduct.”

Oxfam said it had reported this to the Foreign Office and Charity Commission, a government department that regulates charities.

In response to the suspension of UK funding, an Oxfam spokesperson said “we will continue to keep them informed as the investigation concludes its work.”

The Times newspaper reported on Friday that whistleblowers at Oxfam had been raising concerns about alleged misconduct in the aid mission to DR Congo since 2015.

The anti-poverty charity was hit by a major scandal in 2018 over the way it handled staff in Haiti who admitted using prostitutes.

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