In South Africa, the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has resigned from his position as global ambassador for Oxfam International, the UK-based development and humanitarian aid organization at the center of allegations of sexual misconduct among its relief workers in Chad and Haiti.
“The Archbishop is deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity,” the Tutu statement said. “He is also saddened by the impact of the allegations on the many thousands of good people who have supported Oxfam’s righteous work.”
The 86-year-old Tutu has retired from public life, the statement added, and he is therefore withdrawing from his public commitments. “He has instructed his office to write to Oxfam International to inform them of his retirement as a global ambassador,” the message concludes.
Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient and internationally recognized anti-apartheid activist with extensive foundation work to address poverty, peacemaking and youth development. He is also Elder Emeritus and a founding member of The Elders, an independent group of global leaders started by Nelson Mandela that includes current chair Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-Moon and former United States President Jimmy Carter.
At Oxfam, new executive director Winnie Byanyima said the allegations against former aid worker Roland van Hauwermeiren and other Oxfam staff are shocking and appalling. “I hope we can restore the trust of our supporters, of our donors, of our staff, and all the people who believe in Oxfam’s mission,” she said.
Meanwhile, in an open letter sent to Belgian media outlets and made public Thursday, Van Hauwermeiren denied claims of hiring sex workers in Chad in 2006 or the reports of sex parties in Haiti in 2011.
Image: Oxfam file