Oxfam executive 'aware' of Asia staff abuse claims

BBC News
Lan Mercado took up her post as Oxfam's Asia regional director for Asia in 2016

A senior figure in Oxfam says she is aware of sexual abuse claims involving its staff in Asia.

Lan Mercado told the BBC the cases took place in the Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal before she started as regional director in 2016.

She said the scale of sexual misconduct was "not comparable" to that in Haiti, where Oxfam faces claims staff paid vulnerable people for sex.

Oxfam is meeting the Charity Commission as part of an inquiry by the regulator.

The commission has launched a statutory inquiry into Oxfam - which denies covering up the behaviour of its staff in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake - but details of its scope have not yet been released.

'Horrified'

Ms Mercado said she was aware of similar cases involving Oxfam workers in Asia between 2009 and 2013.

She said they went largely unreported and had been dealt with internally "according to specified policies", although she would not define the situation as a "cover up".

It comes as actress Minnie Driver has stood down from her role as a celebrity ambassador for Oxfam.

In a statement the Good Will Hunting and Hope Springs star said she was "nothing short of horrified" by the allegations.

Organisations including Marks and Spencer and the Duke of Edinburgh's (DofE) Award have also said they are considering their association with the charity.

Latest