Opinion Piece Discusses Oxfam Scandal, Haiti’s History With Aid Organizations

Washington Post: For Haiti, the Oxfam scandal is just the latest in a string of insults
Joel Dreyfuss, columnist at the Washington Post

“By now, many Haitians must be asking themselves: What is the price we have to pay for foreign aid? The Oxfam sex scandal is just the latest humiliation heaped on this poor country by those who claim to be helping it. … Haitians have long known that foreign intervention — whether it be military or charitable — comes at a price to your sovereignty, as well as your dignity. … After the earthquake, Haiti was in no condition to monitor the thousands of NGOs that descended on the country, nor did it have an established mechanism to track the aid groups. A government starved of funds, even now, has little capacity to exercise oversight over hundreds of foreign organizations. … The best Haiti and other poor countries can hope for is that the wave of indignation over the behavior of certain aid workers will translate into real reforms in the charities’ home countries and into stricter controls within these organizations. For its part, Oxfam has announced that an independent commission will investigate the culture of sexual predation within the organization and set up mechanisms to prevent future acts. But if those promises do not result in real change, Haitians will not be shocked when the next scandal bursts into the headlines — a harsh reminder to beware of those who say they come to help” (2/19).

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