The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 24 February 2018

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version: The Sentinel_ period ending 24 Feb 2018

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Security Council Demands 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery


Security Council Demands 30-day Cessation of Hostilities in Syria to Enable Humanitarian Aid Delivery, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2401 (2018)
24 February 2018 SC/13221
The Security Council, acting unanimously today, adopted a resolution demanding parties to Syria’s seven-year-long conflict to cease hostilities without delay for at least 30 consecutive days, ensuring a “durable humanitarian pause” to enable weekly humanitarian aid deliveries and medical evacuations of the critically sick and wounded.

By the terms of resolution 2401 (2018), the 15-member Council demanded that, immediately after the start of the cessation of hostilities, all parties would allow safe, unimpeded and sustained access each week for the humanitarian convoys of the United Nations and their implementing partners to all requested areas and populations — particularly the 5.6 million people in 1,244 communities in acute need and the 2.9 million in hard-to-reach and besieged locations, subject to standard United Nations security assessments. It also demanded that the United Nations and its partners be allowed to carry out safe, unconditional medical evacuations, based on medical need and urgency.

The Council further called upon all parties to immediately lift the sieges of populated areas — including in eastern Ghouta, Yarmouk, Foua and Kefraya — and cease depriving civilians of essential food and medicine, which when used as a method of combat was an act prohibited by international humanitarian law. It demanded that the parties enable the rapid, safe and unhindered evacuation of all civilians who wished to leave — underscoring the need for them to agree on humanitarian pauses, days of tranquillity, localized ceasefires and truces — and called for the urgent acceleration of humanitarian mine action throughout Syria.

Affirming that the cessation of hostilities would not apply to military operations against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh), Al-Qaida, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with terrorist groups, as designated by the Council, the organ further called on relevant Member States to coordinate efforts to monitor the cessation of hostilities, building on existing arrangements. It called on all Member States to use their influence with the parties to ensure its implementation and create conditions for a durable and lasting ceasefire.

By other terms of the text, the Council reiterated its demand — reminding the Syrian authorities in particular — that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international law concerning protecting civilians and medical and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties along with their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities. It also reiterated its demand that they demilitarize medical facilities, schools and other civilian facilities; avoid establishing military positions in populated areas; and desist from attacks directed at civilian objects…

Sahel Alliance Announces Over 500 Projects [EUR 6bn] Between 2018 and 2022


The Sahel Alliance Officially Announces the Implementation of Over 500 Projects for a Total Amount of EUR 6bn to be Disbursed Between 2018 and 2022
BRUSSELS, 23 February 2018 – During the International High-Level Conference on the Sahel, the founding members of the Sahel Alliance – France, Germany, the EU, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and UNDP –, joined by Italy, Spain and the UK, officially launched the Sahel Alliance, by announcing the implementation of over 500 projects between 2018 and 2022.

EUR 6bn of investments for the Sahel region: this is the total amount disbursed by the members of the Sahel Alliance and being made available to member countries of the G5 Sahel (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger) for the implementation of over 500 projects with a capacity to transform the region by 2022.

All these projects, 12 of which were highlighted to illustrate the principles of the Alliance, were presented to Sahelian Heads of State during the G5 Sahel Summit in Niamey on 6 February 2018. They will be implemented rapidly, particularly in the most vulnerable areas, as the objective of the Sahel Alliance is to have an immediate impact on populations, in line with the priorities established by the G5 Sahel countries. To achieve this, the Sahel Alliance will take action in six priority sectors: youth employment, rural development and food security, energy and climate, governance, decentralization and access to basic services, and security.

The membership of three new countries – Italy, Spain and the UK – in this unique initiative is a sign that development actors are mobilizing for the Sahel region…

Heritage Stewardship – Trafficked Artifacts :: FAO – Svalbard seed vault :: Yemen – Zabid

Heritage Stewardship

Over 41,000 artefacts seized in global operation targeting trafficking of cultural goods
21 February 2018
More than 41,000 objects including coins, furniture, paintings, musical instruments, archaeological pieces and sculptures have been seized in a global operation targeting the trafficking of cultural artefacts.

The seizures were made during the first joint customs and police operation codenamed Athena organized by the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL, and the Europe-focused Operation Pandora II coordinated by the Spanish Guardia Civil and Europol.

Tens of thousands of checks were carried out at airports and border crossing points across 81 countries during the operations which ran from October to December 2017. Auction houses, museums and private houses were also searched, resulting in more than 300 investigations being opened and 101 people arrested.

Online illicit markets
With the Internet becoming an important part of the chain in the illicit trade of cultural goods, law enforcement officers also monitored online market places and sales sites.

This resulted in the seizure more than 7,000 objects, nearly 20 per cent of the total number of artefacts recovered during the operations. In just one investigation in Spain, the Guardia Civil seized more than 2,000 cultural objects, the majority of which were coins from the Roman and other Empires. Officials also seized 88 pieces of ivory as well as weapons including swords, a crossbow and 39 historical firearms ranging from rifles to pistols…

Peace and security threat
“The results of the Operations Athena and Pandora II speak for themselves: cooperation between Customs and Police can yield excellent results and should be promoted and sustained at all levels. The fight against illicit trafficking of cultural objects has been long neglected by law enforcement agencies, however, we cannot turn a blind eye to it. While we lose our common history and identity, the proceeds of trafficking fuel terrorism, conflicts and other criminal activities,” said WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya. “We will keep working in this area of enforcement and will soon deploy the first specialized global training curriculum for Customs administrations – a very concrete and hands-on outcome of our common work,” he added…


Save the seeds – and the living plants we eat and use
FAO’s new Voluntary Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Wild Relatives and Wild Food Plants outline how to craft technical rules and shepherd them into implementation and will help governments meet their international commitments.
Svalbard seed vault is the apex of a global network to protecting plant genetic resources for food and agriculture

23 February 2018, Rome – The ‘Doomsday Vault’, storing the seeds of vital crops in an underground vault near Svalbard, Norway, will celebrate its 10th anniversary soon, drawing deserved attention to the importance of conserving seeds that are vital for food and agriculture.

It was the adoption of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in 2001 that gave the impetus to the Norwegian government to proceed with the establishment of the Seed Vault; the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture welcomed and supported the initiative in 2004.

The resources and attention given to Svalbard, now the iconic home to seeds of around one million unique plants, is welcome. While farmers have bred crops for millennia, the emphasis on conservation of crop diversity ex situ is historically linked to Nikolai Vavilov, who set up one of the first genebanks in Russia in 1921. In a quest to end all famines, the botanist travelled to more than 60 countries, listening to farmers and collecting seeds with an eye to their potential to contribute to hardier crops in a changing world…

Many locally important food crops grow in parts of the world facing rapid change and high levels of food insecurity. To help countries in the daunting task of protecting the species relevant to their food supply in their natural habitats where they would continue to evolve important traits for adaptation to changes, FAO recently published Voluntary Guidelines for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Crop Wild Relatives and Wild Food Plants.


Yemen: City’s architectural connection to Islam at risk as fighting nears
Sana’a/Geneva (ICRC) – As fighting along Yemen’s Red Sea coast continues, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urging all parties to the conflict to protect and respect the city of Zabid, a World Heritage Site that has the highest concentration of mosques in Yemen.
Fighting would endanger civilians, Zabid’s unique architecture and the city’s cultural connection to one of the world’s major religions. Cultural property like Zabid’s is protected by international humanitarian law.

“The fighting in Hodeida governorate is at the gates of the historic city of Zabid, fanning fears for the fate of its cultural heritage,” said Alexandre Faite, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen…

“International humanitarian law makes it clear that special care must be taken in military operations to avoid damaging this outstanding archeological and historical site,” Mr Faite added.

Zabid served as the capital of Yemen from the 13th century to the 15th century and played an important role in the Arab and Muslim world as a centre of Islamic knowledge. With its narrow streets and the many minarets rising from its 86 mosques, Zabid is considered an architectural jewel of the early years of Islam. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 shows high corruption burden in more than two-thirds of countries – Transparency International


Corruption Perceptions Index 2017 shows high corruption burden in more than two-thirds of countries
Analysis of results from Transparency International finds crackdowns on NGOs and media are associated with higher levels of corruption.
21 Feb 2018
An index released today by Transparency International, which marks its 25th anniversary this year, reveals some disturbing information – despite attempts to combat corruption around the world, the majority of countries are moving too slowly in their efforts. While stemming the tide against corruption takes time, in the last six years many countries have still made little to no progress. Even more alarming, further analysis of the index results indicates that countries with the lowest protections for press and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) also tend to have the worst rates of corruption.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43.

Over the last six years, several countries significantly improved their CPI score, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom, while several countries declined, including Syria, Yemen and Australia.

This year, New Zealand and Denmark rank highest with scores of 89 and 88 respectively. Syria, South Sudan and Somalia rank lowest with scores of 14, 12 and 9 respectively. The best performing region is Western Europe with an average score of 66. The worst performing regions are Sub-Saharan Africa (average score 32) and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (average score 34).

To view the results, visit:

Oxfam releases report into allegations of sexual misconduct in Haiti; Haiti Suspends Oxfam Great Britain After Sex Scandal

Governance-Ethics-Accountability: OXFAM et al

Oxfam releases report into allegations of sexual misconduct in Haiti
19 February 2018
A full copy of Oxfam’s final internal report into allegations of sexual misconduct and other unacceptable behaviour during Oxfam’s humanitarian response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake has been made public today.

Oxfam is publishing the report, written in 2011, in order to be as transparent as possible about the decisions made during the investigation and in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused.

Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International’s Executive Director, said “Oxfam is urgently committed to act upon the moral responsibilities we have towards women in Haiti. We are also meeting with the Government of Haiti to apologise for our mistakes and discuss what more we can do. It is vitally important we re-examine what happened, and learn from it.

“The measures we put in place as a result of the investigation mean that the case would be handled differently today, but it is clear that there is much more to be done. The action we are now taking, including an independent review of our culture and practices by women’s rights leaders, will help ensure abuse is rooted out of Oxfam and help us become more effective in our mission to help create lasting solutions to poverty.”

Last week Oxfam announced a comprehensive action plan to strengthen safeguarding systems across the organisation and stamp out abuse. The package of measures includes:
:: A new independent High-Level Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change, comprised of respected women’s and human rights leaders, which will be able to access Oxfam records and interview staff, partners and communities it supports around the world. The names of the Commission co-chairs will be released shortly.
:: The immediate creation of a new global database of accredited referees – designed to end the use of forged, dishonest or unreliable references by past or current Oxfam staff. Oxfam will not be issuing any references until this is in place.
:: An immediate injection of resources into Oxfam’s safeguarding processes, with the number of people working in safeguarding more than doubling over the coming weeks and annual funding more than tripled to just over $1 million.
:: A commitment to improve the culture within Oxfam to ensure that no one faces sexism, discrimination or abuse, that everyone, especially women, feels safe to speak out, and everyone is clear on what behaviour is acceptable or not.

Notes to editors
The full 2011 Haiti internal report is available here
We have redacted names and identifying characteristics to comply with the need for due process and confidentiality required by both privacy law and recommended UN guidelines on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. The full, un-redacted report has been shared with the Haitian Ambassador in London and a copy will be given to the Haitian government in a meeting on Monday morning (19 February 2018). We have informed the relevant national authorities of the names of the seven men involved in sexual misconduct.


Haiti Suspends Oxfam Great Britain After Sex Scandal
The New York Times, FEB. 22, 2018
Saying it was “shocked at the highest level,” the government of Haiti has suspended the aid group Oxfam Great Britain for two months while it investigates allegations of sexual misconduct by charity employees in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The government took the step two weeks after the organization, the British arm of the umbrella group Oxfam International, acknowledged that employees had been fired or resigned after they were found to have had sex parties with prostitutes in staff housing.

On Thursday, the Haitian minister of planning and external cooperation, Aviol Fleurant, said officials were looking into the incidents and trying to determine whether any of the women were underage.

The government raised the prospect that the British aid organization, which spends $3.9 million annually in Haiti, may not be allowed to resume its work. Mr. Fleurant told Reuters that if investigators establish a link between donations to Oxfam meant for Haiti and criminal activity, officials will “declare Oxfam Great Britain persona non grata, and they would have to leave the country without further delay.”…

Oxfam Impacts: Charities commit to taking better action on safeguarding :: A joint letter from 22 UK charities

Charities commit to taking better action on safeguarding
A joint letter from 22 UK charities
23 Feb 18
As organisations whose core aim is to help the most vulnerable people in the world, we must always confront abusive behaviour and the misuse of power. When it comes from individuals within our sector it is a double betrayal, not just of the people we exist to serve, but of the British people in whose name we operate. Although this is only the action of a small minority of people, it is nonetheless an issue that we will not allow to go unaddressed.

There can be no tolerance for the abuse of power, privilege or trust within our organisations or in our work. We have an absolute duty to our staff, our supporters and, above all, the people we seek to help to ensure we do everything in our power to prevent, detect and eradicate unacceptable behaviour.

As we take every necessary step to right these deep wrongs, we also have a clear responsibility to ensure that the communities we seek to help are not the ones punished for our mistakes. The widespread distress and disappointment that we’ve heard in the past two weeks demonstrates that people feel profound compassion for those who need Britain’s help. We must honour that instinct, and the rights and needs of the communities we work with, by continuing to deliver vital aid but also changing fundamentally.

Safeguarding is something that, as a sector, we have long taken very seriously and all our organisations have systems in place to prevent all forms of abuse and misconduct. However, we can never be complacent. We must do even more to protect the very people we were set up to help.

First and foremost we must continue to create an environment where people feel safe, and confident to report any behaviour that makes them feel uncomfortable or which threatens them or their communities.

That is why we are collectively announcing the following series of urgent and immediate measures:
:: We will all increase the resources we devote to safeguarding – meeting our responsibility to protect our staff and beneficiaries.
:: We will collectively review our current referencing systems so that people found to have abused their power or behaved inappropriately are not re-employed in the sector – including in INGOs, government agencies, the UN and other associated bilateral and domestic agencies.
:: We will work with these authorities and regulatory bodies to ensure any individual caught abusing their power cannot do so again.
:: We will work with the government to ensure that we can overcome the legal and institutional barriers to rigorous background checks in the UK.

In taking these steps, we are also asking people to come forward to report unacceptable behaviour. We hope these measures send a clear message to those who experience or witness any form of abuse – it is really important that they know that we will listen and we will take action.

These actions are only the first step as, collectively and individually, we do everything possible to ensure that our organisations, our staff and the work we fund meets that most fundamental criteria for all charities – to serve people and not to exploit them.

Our collective mission is to do much more than that – the challenge we face in our own organisations is a challenge for the whole of society. This is something that requires leadership in every sector – and we ask people from all walks of life and all corners of our communities to help us to strengthen safeguards, tackle abuse and stand up for the vulnerable – and to call out inappropriate behaviour wherever we see it.

We are truly sorry that at times our sector has failed. We must and will do better.

ActionAid UK
BBC Media Action
CARE International UK
Christian Aid
Concern Worldwide UK
Global Citizen
Islamic Relief UK
Mercy Corps Europe
Muslim Aid
Oxfam GB
Plan International UK
Practical Action
Save the Children UK
Start Network
Scotland’s International Development Alliance
World Vision UK

Oxfam Impacts – ICRC, CARE International, UNAIDS

Taking action to prevent and address staff misconduct – ICRC
Statement from ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord 23-02-2018
…Our response to recent misconduct
The decentralized management system we have used for decades is our established way to make life-and-death decisions on field security and aid delivery. But when this approach is applied to managing misconduct, it is difficult to accurately compile overall figures.
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. I am deeply saddened to report these numbers.
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.
The ICRC has more than 17,000 staff members worldwide. We are concerned that incidents that should be reported have not yet been reported, or were reported but not properly handled. We are taking action to address this.
Procedures to handle misconduct allegations
All staff are contractually bound by the ICRC’s Code of Conduct, which explicitly forbids the purchase of sexual services. This ban, in place since 2006, applies worldwide and at all times, including in locations where prostitution is legal, as the ICRC believes that staff paying for sex is incompatible with the values and mission of the organisation.
In spring 2017 we created the Global Compliance Office, tasked with monitoring and enforcing staff adherence to the Code of Conduct. This office manages complaints and allegations confidentially and functions independently. Before that we created a worldwide ombudsman network to which staff can turn for advice and support.
These mechanisms are designed to give us an overview of all misconduct cases and provide institutional oversight. They should ensure overall coherence and fairness in the application of the rules.
My pledge to the people we serve and to our staff is that complaints and allegations will be acted upon firmly and consistently. Any employee found to have violated the Code of Conduct will be held accountable…


Statement from CARE International
21st Feb 2018
CARE International works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. Because of our mission and our focus on women and girls, we are deeply committed to building a world where violence, harassment and abuse against anyone is not tolerated.

Our ability to fulfil our relief and development mission is wholly reliant on the high standards of integrity and conduct of our staff working at all levels in the organisation; from those in head office to those working in the communities we serve.

In 2017, CARE had more than 9,000 staff in more than 90 countries. We collected figures in two separate categories: (1) sexual abuse and exploitation of community members and (2) sexual harassment within the organization.

CARE received 13 sexual abuse or exploitation reports in 2017, of which eight were substantiated. Seven of those eight staff were dismissed as a result and one resigned.

In the second category, CARE received reports of 15 cases of sexual harassment within the organization, of which eight were substantiated. Of those eight staff members: four were dismissed as a result; two contracts were not renewed; and the remaining two staff members received a warning and one no longer works for CARE.

We have researched and taken each case before us very seriously, but we also recognize that complex systems like ours are fallible. We are encouraging people inside and outside of CARE to share historical information with us.

Our global policy on Protection from Exploitation and Abuse and Child Protection explicitly outlines unacceptable behaviour, and what we will do to investigate allegations, support victims and discipline perpetrators, including referring them to the relevant authorities. We will continue to build upon this policy as we, along with others in the sector, reflect and evolve.

We have mechanisms in place to report abuse or harassment of any kind, either through management or HR structures, or through a hotline (known as the “CARE Line”). We also are now rolling out plans to strengthen our complaint mechanisms for our program participants to raise concerns or allegations of sexual harassment, exploitation or abuse. This includes our ability to track these issues across the confederation.

We will continue to focus on improving our reporting mechanisms at all levels of the organisation. At CARE, we have an uncompromising commitment to integrity and humility, which means we remain accountable to the people and partners we serve.


UNAIDS’ Deputy Executive Director, Programme, not to seek renewal of his position
GENEVA, 23 February 2018—UNAIDS’ Deputy Executive Director, Programme, Luiz Loures, has communicated his wish to the UNAIDS Executive Director not to seek the renewal of his position as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS. Dr Loures will end his term as Deputy Executive Director at the end of March 2018.
The Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, has accepted the decision and conveyed the decision to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Mr Sidibé also thanked Dr Loures for his 22 years of dedicated service to UNAIDS…

Urgent need to scale up health services in Cox’s Bazar: WHO


Urgent need to scale up health services in Cox’s Bazar: WHO
Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 20 February 2018: Calling for continued efforts to further scale up health services for nearly 1.3 million people in Cox’s Bazar, Rohingyas and their surrounding host communities, the World Health Organization today said six months after the start of the refugee crisis, the vulnerable populations remain at risk of several diseases and in need of critical services for survival.

“Commendable efforts have been made by the Government of Bangladesh and partner agencies to provide health services; prevent diseases such as cholera; and rapidly control outbreaks of measles and diphtheria. However, the challenges are huge, multiple and evolving. The magnitude of the crisis requires continued efforts and generous contributions by all partners to scale up health services for the vulnerable population,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia.

An estimated 688,000 Rohingyas crossed over to Cox’s Bazar from Myanmar beginning 25 August 2017, joining nearly 212,500 others who had arrived in earlier waves, in one of the largest population movement in the shortest span.

While majority of the refugees are living in Kutapalong and Balukhali mega camps and 11 other clusters of small and big settlements, about 79 000 are living with the host population.
The mega camps are currently one of the world’s biggest refugee settlement areas and also one of the world’s most densely populated areas.

The health needs of this population continue to be immense. Women and young mothers need reproductive health services. An estimated 60 000 children are expected to be born in the camps in the next one year. Besides newborns, pregnant and young mothers; children, adults and the elderly need basic health services and that for injuries, trauma and various non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and importantly, psychosocial support.

“Water and sanitation, and shelter continues to be far from optimum, increasing the risk of rapid spread of several communicable and water borne diseases,” the Regional Director said, stressing the need to accelerate efforts to address the key determinants of health on a priority.
The upcoming rainy season and the risk of cyclone and floods, increase the vulnerability of these people to waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and hepatitis, and vector borne diseases such as malaria, dengue and chikungunya.

For keeping a close watch on the situation, WHO established the Early Warning and Response System (EWARS), early as the crisis started, to rapidly detect and respond to disease outbreak to minimize death and disease. Additionally, WHO has been periodically carrying out risk assessments to enable Ministry of Health and partners take measures to detect potential health risks and take timely and appropriate measures.

The EWARS and risk assessments helped Bangladesh’s decision to carry out large scale vaccination campaigns with cholera, measles and rubella, polio and diphtheria vaccines. WHO has been working with the Ministry of Health and partners to plan, roll out and monitor vaccination campaigns to ensure all children are protected.

WHO continues to lead and coordinate efforts of over 100 partners managing more than 270 health facilities – health posts, hospitals, treatment centers and mobile clinics – while also providing medicines and medical equipment, diagnostics, guidelines and trainings and building laboratory capacity.

Despite efforts by government and partners, challenges are many. The affected population has distinct and unique culture and language, a major barrier in impacting health seeking and hygiene behavior.

But the most impending challenge is finding a safe space to relocate the refugees in case of floods and cyclone during the upcoming rainy season, which may further impact their health.

“The Government of Bangladesh has been extremely generous and forthcoming in hosting and providing for the Rohingyas. However, the health sector is grossly under-funded and grappling to meet the needs of the affected population,” Dr Khetrapal Singh said, appealing to international community to contribute generously and commit to support what clearly is set to be a protracted emergency.

Reiterating WHO’s committed to work with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and partners to address health issues of the vulnerable population, the Regional Director said concerted efforts by both national and international community is the need of the hour to strengthen and reinforce health services for both the Rohingyas and the their host population in Cox’s Bazar.


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 21 February 2018 [GPEI]
:: New on Ending polio and yellow fever in Nigeria, and why the polio vaccine must be delivered multiple times.
::  Our brand new animation on the two polio vaccines has been released, available in English, French, and Arabic.
:: In response to recent cases, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced the circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus 2 (cVDPV2) outbreak ongoing in the country as a Public Health Emergency of National Concern. Since the outbreak began, the Ministry of Health, supported by WHO and partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, has implemented four monovalent oral polio vaccine 2 (mOPV2) supplementary immunization campaigns and one mop-up campaign to prevent virus spread. They have worked hard to strengthen surveillance and routine immunization in the outbreak zones and across the country, and are fully committed to ending the outbreak. The total number of officially reported cVDPV2 cases in the DRC in 2017 is 21. No cases of cVDPV2 with onset in 2018 have so far been reported.
:: Summary of newly-reported viruses this week: No new viruses reported.

Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 35, 20 February 2018
Situation update 20 February 2018
[Editor’ text bolding]
:: No new cases of cVDPV2 were reported this week. The total number of cVDPV2 cases remains 74. The most recent case (by date of onset of paralysis) is 21 September 2017 from Boukamal district, Deir Ez-Zor governorate.
:: An inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) immunization round has successfully concluded in Damascus, Hasakah, parts of Aleppo governorates, and Jurmana district of rural Damascus as part of the second phase of the outbreak response. IPV vaccination is continuing in accessible parts of Aleppo governorate.
:: Reportedly, a total of 233 518 children aged 2–23 months received IPV, representing 71% of the estimated target.
:: Post campaign monitoring of the IPV campaign has concluded in Damascus, Hasakah and parts of Aleppo governorate that completed the implementation. Overall, post campaign monitoring indicates 81% vaccination rates by parental/caregiver recall and 77% by finger marking.
:: Post campaign monitoring particularly focused on the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps; the data indicates 91% vaccination rates by parental/caregiver recall and 89% by finger marking.
:: A nationwide immunization round utilizing bivalent OPV (bOPV) is planned for March. The campaign will target all children aged less than 5 years.


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 24 February 2018]
The Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syria cVDPV2 outbreak situation report 35, 20 February 2018
[See Polio above for detail]

Weekly cholera bulletins
:: Weekly epidemiology bulletin, 5–11 February 2018
Cumulative figures
-The cumulative total from 27 April 2017 to 11 Feb 2018 is 1,059,970 suspected cholera cases and 2,258 associated deaths, (CFR 0.21%), 1104 have been confirmed by culture.
– 59.3 % of death were severe cases at admission
– The total proportion of severe cases among the suspected cases is 16%
– The national attack rate is 382.7 per 10,000. The five governorates with the highest cumulative attack rates per 10,000 remain Amran (894), Al Mahwit (857), Al Dhale’e (644), Hajjah (520) and Sana’a (515).
– Children under 5 years old represent 28.8% of total suspected cases.
– In total, 29,629 rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) have been performed which represents 28 % coverage.
– 2,732 cultures have been performed which represents 22.3% coverage.
– The last positive culture was on 4 Feb 2018 in Al Harith district in Amant Al Asimah
– 182 districts are still reporting suspected cholera cases since last 3 weeks
– 123 districts (out of 305 affected districts) did not report any suspected cases for the last three consecutive weeks
Governorate and District level
– At governorate level, the trend from W4 –W6 decrease or was stable in all governorates except (Aden governorate)
– The weekly number of cases is decreasing for the 22 consecutive weeks.
– The weekly proportion of severe cases has significantly decreased representing now 9% of the admitted cases.
Week 6 2018
– 3,886 suspected cases and 3 associated deaths were reported
– 9 % are severe cases
– 589 RDTs were performed, 131 were positive
– No culture test was performed this week

WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 24 February 2018]
Bangladesh/Myanmar: Rakhine Conflict 2017
[See WHO announcement in Milestones/Perspectives above]

Democratic Republic of the Congo 
:: Read the health situation report in French pdf, 4.28Mb, February 2018

UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: 23 Feb 2018   UN chiefs call for stepped-up support for vulnerable Syrians, refugees and host communities, amid escalating violence inside Syria

:: 20 Feb 2018  Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 12 – 18 February 2018


The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 17 February 2018

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

pdf version: The Sentinel_ period ending 17 Feb 2018

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

The Mosul Trauma Response A Case Study

Humanitarian Health Response – Mosul

The Mosul Trauma Response A Case Study
Center for Humanitarian Health – Johns Hopkins University
February 2018 :: 67 pages
Full Report PDF:
Exec Sum. 1: Application of Humanitarian Principles | Exec Sum. 2: Quality and Effectiveness

The Battle of Mosul was one of the largest urban sieges since World War II. From October 2016 and July 2017, Iraqi and Kurdish forces fought to retake Iraq’s second largest city, which had fallen to ISIL in 2014. They were backed by U.S.-led coalition forces. More than 940,000 civilians fled during the siege, and thousands were injured as they sought safety.

Early on it became clear that the Iraqi military did not have the capacity to provide trauma care, despite its obligations under the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols. The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners stepped in to fill this void. This was the first time the WHO played a leading role in coordinating care in conflict, and the first time a civilian trauma setting was attempted at the frontline.

Key findings
:: Between 1500-1800 lives, both military and civilian, may have been saved through this trauma response.
:: By attempting to apply Western military standards of trauma care and ‘moving forward’ towards the frontline to save civilians lives, WHO and its partners challenged existing humanitarian principles, particularly those of neutrality and independence.
:: The Iraqi government and its military did not have medical capacity to fulfil their obligations to protect and care for wounded civilians on the Mosul battlefield, and the U.S.-led coalition did not provide substantial medical care for wounded civilians.
:: WHO-supported field hospitals filled important gaps in trauma surgical care, while post-operative and rehabilitative care warranted greater support.
:: Successful coordination among local leaders, partners, and civilian and military officials occurred, but field coordination could have been better resourced.

:: Warring factions, and those supporting them, need to enhance the former’s medical capacities to ensure they can fulfill their obligations under the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocols.
:: Deliberation is needed regarding the benefits to and the moral obligations of governments who support such warring factions, like the U.S.-led coalition in the Mosul battle.
:: Humanitarians must take care to avoid being instrumentalized by governments or military in future conflicts.
:: Medical teams operating directly with a combatant force should not be identified as humanitarian;
:: Frontline medical services could be provided by specialized groups explicitly trained to work directly with combatant forces, possibly contracted as military support services focusing on providing frontline medical services for both injured soldiers and civilians.
:: Using private medical organizations (i.e., contractors) to provide humanitarian services in conflict settings needs further study.
:: How humanitarian actors can apply standards of trauma care that compel them to move towards the frontline to save lives, and still adhere to longstanding humanitarian principles, needs debate at senior levels such as at the Inter Agency Standing Committee or at the intergovernmental level.

Paul B. Spiegel MD, MPH
Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH)
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health
Kent Garber MD, MPH
Research Associate, JHSPH
Adam Kushner MD, MPH
Associate, JHSPH
Core faculty, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health
Paul Wise MD, MPH
Richard E. Behrman Professor of Child Health and Society
Professor of Pediatrics
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Stanford University


The Lancet
Feb 03, 2018 Volume 391 Number 10119 p401-512 e5
Examining humanitarian principles in changing warfare
The Lancet
Published: 17 February 2018
Violence in war must have a limit. Those who are not participating in the hostilities should be protected to prevent war from sinking into barbarity. Today, this is safeguarded by international humanitarian law (IHL), of which the cornerstones are the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Additional Protocols. IHL provides for the wounded and sick to be collected and cared for by the warring faction that has them in their power, and for them to receive timely medical care. Traditionally, those entering into conflict could be expected to uphold these laws. But who will save the lives of the wounded if the warring factions are unable—or unwilling—to provide that care?

From October, 2016, to July, 2017, a US-led coalition supported the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in a battle to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). What became known as the Battle of Mosul was one of the largest urban sieges since World War 2. Over 940 000 civilians fled—facing bullets, mortar shells, and air strikes. Providing timely and efficient trauma care to these civilians was paramount but fraught with difficulty.

How the humanitarian community responded to this situation provides an insight into the evolving debate over the provision of trauma care in war. This was documented in an evaluation published on Feb 17, 2018 led by Paul Spiegel and colleagues of the Center for Humanitarian Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who petitioned the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance for a grant for this study. It is based on qualitative data (interviews, and a review of publicly and privately shared documents) and a quantitative analysis of data collected by WHO and other actors.

During the Battle, it soon became apparent that a void in life-saving trauma care urgently needed to be filled. The Iraqi military lacked medical personnel and the US-led coalition deployed few medical teams, which were tasked with providing care for wounded coalition forces and not civilians. ISIL’s tactics—use of civilians as shields, shooting at fleeing civilians, and occupation of health clinics—showed disregard for civilian and health worker protection. Humanitarian actors could not negotiate safe passage with ISIL; it was the first time the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) did not have contact with all sides of the conflict. Moreover, hospital overcrowding, extensive infrastructure damage, and checkpoints set up by the Kurdish forces substantially slowed access to care.

In a first-of-its-kind approach, the evaluation shows that, consequently, the UN and WHO had to take charge and coordinate a unique trauma response for injured civilians. This trauma pathway, modelled after military trauma systems, included so-called trauma stabilisation points (TSPs) located within 10 mins of the front line, and field hospitals within an hour’s drive. This ultimately required the humanitarians to be “colocated” or “embedded” within the Iraqi military for security and logistical reasons, minutes away from the combat zone.

This approach challenged accepted humanitarian principles. Rooted in IHL, the humanitarian principles—neutrality, impartiality, humanity, and independence—guide the work of humanitarian actors, and are usually considered indivisible. As was stated in the evaluation, by colocating/embedding humanitarians with the military, “the principle of humanity [to protect life and health] was consciously given precedence over the principles of neutrality and independence; we would also argue over impartiality as well”. When approached by WHO to staff the TSPs and field hospitals, ICRC and Médecins Sans Frontières both raised these concerns, and finally declined to participate in this specific aspect of the trauma response. WHO ended up contracting humanitarian NGOs, and, as a last resort, a for-profit medical company, to “move forward” towards the front line. Spiegel and colleagues estimate that this approach, complemented by the work of other actors also providing trauma care, likely saved about 1500–1800 lives—both civilians and combatants.

The Battle of Mosul provides an important case study for what might be to come. Above all, this should be a very rare occurrence, and The Lancet echoes the evaluation’s recommendation that governments, and possibly their allies, must ensure their militaries can fulfil the obligations of protection and care for wounded citizens under the Geneva Conventions. However, in modern warfare, access to the injured may increasingly be one sided when fighting against warring factions that see health workers and civilians as acceptable targets of war. Governments should be prepared to face this eventuality. To be able to continue providing the best standards of care and saving lives, a high-level meeting must urgently be organised to examine and answer this question: are the humanitarian principles as they are defined today still relevant for this changing warfare?

Massive data gaps leave refugee, migrant and displaced children in danger and without access to basic services – UNICEF, IOM

Human Rights/Protection – Refugee, Migrant, Displaced Children

Massive data gaps leave refugee, migrant and displaced children in danger and without access to basic services
Joint press release – UNICEF, IOM
An estimated 28 million children were living in forced displacement in 2016, but the true figure is likely much higher Download ‘A Call to Action’ here:

YORK, 15 February 2018 – Gaps in data covering refugees, asylum seekers, migrants and internally displaced populations are endangering the lives and wellbeing of millions of children on the move, warned five UN and partner agencies today. In ‘A call to action: Protecting children on the move starts with better data’, UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM, Eurostat and OECD together show how crucial data are to understanding the patterns of global migration and developing policies to support vulnerable groups like children.

The Call to Action confirms alarming holes in the availability, reliability, timeliness and accessibility of data and evidence that are essential for understanding how migration and forcible displacement affect children and their families. For example:
– There is recorded information on age for just 56 per cent of the refugee population under UNHCR’s mandate;
– Only 20 per cent of countries or territories with data on conflict-related internally displaced persons (IDP) break it down by age;
– Nearly a quarter of countries and territories do not have age disaggregated data on migrants, including 43 per cent of countries and territories in Africa; and
– Lack of information on migrant and displaced children deprives the affected children of protection and services they need.

“Information gaps fundamentally undermine our ability to help children,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director for the Division of Data, Research and Policy. “Migrant children, particularly those who migrate alone, are often easy targets for those who would do them harm. We can’t keep children safe and provide them with lifesaving services, both in transit and at their destination, if we don’t know who they are, where they are or what they need. We urge Member States to fill these gaps with reliable disaggregated data and to improve cooperation so that data is shared and comparable.”

“Many refugee children have experienced or witnessed appalling violence and suffering in their countries of origin and sometimes also during their flight in search of protection and security. They need and deserve care and protection but in order to provide this, we need data on their identity and needs. In no area is coordination on data and strengthening capacity more important than for children, especially the most vulnerable,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

“We need reliable and better data on child migrants to protect them and guarantee their best interests. Data disaggregation by age, sex and origin can inform policymakers of the real needs of child migrants. This will ensure that no child is left behind and that they are not exploited. All migrant children are entitled to care and protection regardless of their migratory status,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

“Time is of the essence when it comes to integration into education,” said OECD Director for Employment Labour and Social Affairs Stefano Scarpetta. “Success or failure at this vulnerable age can have lifelong labour market consequences. Only with a comprehensive knowledge – backed up by appropriate data – can we identify and address the needs of these children, better protect them and build upon their skills and capabilities as they make their way through the school system and into the labour market.”…

In the absence of reliable data, the risks and vulnerabilities facing children on the move remain hidden and unaddressed. In some contexts, children who cross borders irregularly may be held in detention alongside adults or prevented from accessing services that are essential for their healthy development, including education and healthcare. Even in high income countries, the number of refugee and migrant children out of school is unknown because it is not counted…

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta H. Fore introductory remarks at the Solutions Summit, Stakeholders for End Violence Session
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, 14 February 2018 – “Your Majesty Queen Silvia. Your Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria. Prime Minister Löfven. Deputy Secretary General Mohammed. Honoured guests. Young people — young citizens. Welcome, everyone. And a special thank you to Sweden, for hosting this important summit.

Tackling sexual exploitation and abuse of children: Actions and commitments by UNICEF
STOCKHOLM, 14 February 2018 – “Sexual exploitation and abuse of children under any circumstances is reprehensible. No organization is immune from this scourge and we are continuously working to better address it. When it comes to the protection of children, we are determined to act. There is no room for complacency.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership

Governance – Africa

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
12 February, 2018
Former President of Liberia praised for her extraordinary efforts to lead country’s recovery following civil war.
The 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced today following a meeting of its independent Prize Committee.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who served two terms as President of Liberia from 2006 to 2017, is the fifth recipient of the Ibrahim Prize, which recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership.

The Ibrahim Prize aims to distinguish leaders who, during their time in office, have developed their countries, strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, and advanced sustainable development.

In its citation, the Prize Committee praised her exceptional and transformative leadership, in the face of unprecedented and renewed challenges, to lead Liberia’s recovery following many years of devastating civil war.

Announcing the decision, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, said:
“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focussed on building a nation and its democratic institutions. Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build…”

The Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will consider granting a further US$200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.
The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African executive heads of state or government who have left office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.


Statement by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Receipt of the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
14 February, 2018
It is an honour to have been selected for the Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership. By choice, I have led a life of service and sacrifice on behalf of the Liberian people, and I will remain forever grateful to them for the privilege to serve.

As the first woman to receive the award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to reach for their true potential, to navigate the challenges, break through barriers, and to pursue their dreams. Where there is a first, there comes a second, and a third, and a fourth.

I am thankful that the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in granting me this honour, has sought to emphasise the consolidation of Liberia as a democratic state under my two terms in office. Indeed, my most proud accomplishment is that after 30 years of conflict, the power in Liberia now rests where it should – with the people, grounded in rule of law, and in strong institutions. And I note with pride that Liberia was the only country on the continent to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance – a testament to all those who served in my government.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation continues to be a transformative force on the continent. They have changed the conversation about leadership. This is a discussion that I will continue to carry forward in my post-presidency years.

OXFAM: Recent Announcements

Governance-Ethics-Accountability: OXFAM et al

Editor’s Note:
We present recent Oxfam announcements proceeding from press reports on its Haiti operations, resulting actions by DFID, editorials, and various announcements by NGOs and NGO alliances about their ethical and governance commitments and performance. Unhappily, the Oxfam situation seems to be cascading across the sector.

Oxfam asks women’s rights leaders to carry out urgent independent review
16 February 2018
An independent commission will be set up with immediate power to carry out a wide-ranging review of Oxfam’s practices and culture, including its handling of past cases of sexual misconduct. It comes as Oxfam announces a comprehensive plan of action to strengthen safeguarding systems across the organization, and stamp out abuse.

The plan was agreed yesterday by Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanyima and has the commitment of all executive directors across the Oxfam confederation. The package of measures includes:
:: A new independent High-Level Commission on Sexual Misconduct, Accountability and Culture Change, comprised of leading women’s rights experts, which will be able to access Oxfam records and interview staff, partners and communities it supports around the world.
:: The immediate creation of a new global database of accredited referees – designed to end the use of forged, dishonest or unreliable references by past or current Oxfam staff. Oxfam will not be issuing any references until this is in place.
:: An immediate injection of money and resources into Oxfam’s safeguarding processes, with the number of people working in safeguarding more than doubling over the coming weeks and annual funding more than tripled to just over $1 million.
:: A commitment to improve the culture within Oxfam to ensure that no one faces sexism, discrimination or abuse, that everyone, especially women, feels safe to speak out, and everyone is clear on what behaviour is acceptable or not…

Chair of Oxfam International’s Board of Supervisors, Dr. Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, steps down
13 February 2018
Dr. Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight today stepped down as the Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Oxfam International after being presented with charges dating back to his time as Guatemala’s finance minister..

Oxfam Great Britain announces resignation of Deputy Chief Executive
12 February 2018
Penny Lawrence today resigned as Deputy Chief Executive of Oxfam Great Britain. Lawrence was Program Director at the time of the sexual misconduct in Chad.

Statement from International Development Secretary on Oxfam and UK action to tackle sexual exploitation in the aid sector

Statement from International Development Secretary on Oxfam and UK action to tackle sexual exploitation in the aid sector
12 February 2018 DFID Press release
Penny Mordaunt has announced a series of actions to tackle sexual exploitation in the aid sector, declaring it vital that the whole sector steps up.

A statement from International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt:
[Editor’s text bolding]
“This morning I met with Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam, and Caroline Thomson, Oxfam Chair of Trustees.

“Oxfam made a full and unqualified apology – to me, and to the people of Britain and Haiti – for the appalling behaviour of some of their staff in Haiti in 2011, and for the wider failings of their organisation’s response to it.

“They spoke of the deep sense of disgrace and shame that they and their organisation feel about what has happened, and set out the actions they will now take to put things right and prevent such horrific abuses happening in future. They did not inform the Department for International Development at the time that this case involved sexual misconduct or beneficiaries.

“Oxfam assured me they are cooperating fully with the authorities in Haiti and will do so in any other country where abuse has been exposed. Because the perpetrators in Haiti were not British nationals, Oxfam has – at my request – also today committed to immediately provide full details of those involved to the governments of their home countries, so that appropriate legal processes can be taken forward.

“But assurances are not enough so I have asked them to confirm to DFID by the end of the week precisely how they will handle any forthcoming allegations around safeguarding – historic or live – in a way in which the public can have confidence. We expect this process to include an independent and external element of scrutiny.

“I told Oxfam they must now demonstrate the moral leadership necessary to address this scandal, rebuild the trust of the British public, their staff and the people they aim to help, and deliver progress on these assurances. It is on the basis of their actions going forward – rather than of their commitments in one meeting today – that I and others will judge them. I was clear that part of an organisation’s moral leadership comes from individuals taking responsibility for their actions.

“I have today also met with the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Helen Stephenson, who informed me that the Commission urgently requested full and frank disclosure of what happened in 2011 from Oxfam and they are considering their next regulatory steps.

“But the Charity Commission and I agree that it is not only Oxfam that must improve and reach the high standards of safeguarding we require. Right across the charitable sector, organisations need to show leadership, examine their systems, ensure they have clear whistleblowing policies and deal with historical allegations with confidence and trust.

“My absolute priority is to keep the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people safe from harm. In the 21st century, it is utterly despicable that sexual exploitation and abuse continues to exist in the aid sector.

“I am determined that we do our utmost to prevent exploitation and abuse happening – and ensure that where it does happen it is identified and dealt with appropriately. We cannot wait for others to act – the UK must show leadership ourselves and that is why today I am taking action.
“At their best, UK charities do extraordinary work around the world, saving and transforming lives. It is vital now that the whole sector steps up and demonstrates the leadership that the public expects.

“Firstly, I have issued a letter to all UK charities working overseas – including Oxfam – to demand that they step up and do more, so that we have absolute assurance that the moral leadership, the systems, the culture and the transparency that are needed to fully protect vulnerable people are in place, all of the time, and wherever these charities work and with whichever partners they work with. I have also requested that they confirm they have referred any and all concerns they may have on specific safeguarding cases and individuals to the relevant authorities. In requesting this, we are using Charity Commission guidance and will continue to work closely with them. We will shortly commence a similar exercise with our non-UK partners. If anyone has specific allegations, I urge them to contact our Counter Fraud and Whistleblowing Unit.

“Secondly, my department has today created a new unit to urgently review safeguarding across all parts of the aid sector to ensure everything is being done to protect people from harm, including sexual exploitation and abuse.

“This unit will be wide-ranging and comprehensive in its remit, looking at safeguarding across UK and international charities, suppliers, and the UN and multilateral organisations so that together we can make progress. This will look at how to guard against criminal and predatory individuals being re-employed by charities and abusing again, including the option of establishing a global register of development workers.

“I will bring in independent experts to advise myself and this unit on this work. This builds on the changes we have made to introduce tough sanctions for human rights abuses including sexual exploitation for all new contracts with suppliers and new training for DFID staff to identify and respond to any concerns. I have asked for a meeting with the NCA, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and others to discuss how to make further progress.

“Thirdly, I am going to step up our work to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse across the UN and other international organisations. Already, the UK is working with the UN Secretary-General Guterres to stop abuses under the UN flag and we have introduced specific clauses in our funding agreements with a number of UN agencies to take every action possible to prevent all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse and take robust and prompt action in response to any allegations.

“Fourthly, the Charity Commission and DFID will co-host a safeguarding summit before the end of the month with the aid sector and alongside UK counterparts, where we will agree a set of actions to strengthen safeguarding processes and mechanisms, including around staffing and recruitment, paving the way for a series of events throughout the year. We will also work with the Commission to provide technical assistance and support to other nations that wish to improve the standard and regulations of safeguarding.

“Lastly, I will take this tough message to the international community – and call for action from them. Later this week I will make a speech in Stockholm and firmly demand that all donors and development organisations show leadership and take action alongside the UK.

“Whatever the complications and pressures organisations face, the people we are here to serve must be the number one priority. I remain very clear: we will not work with any organisation that does not live up to the high standards on safeguarding and protection that we require.”

Oxfam et al: Editorials – The Economist; The Guardian

Aid and Abuse – The saints and sinners of Oxfam
Hurricane Harvey whirls through the aid industry
The Economist | 15 February 2018
FOUNDED in 1942, Oxfam is one of Britain’s most recognisable global brands. The charity is the country’s fourth-largest, and the biggest working on overseas aid, with a presence in more than 90 countries. It is also one of the most respected; loved, even, judging by the 23,000 volunteers who turn out to staff its 630 shops, raising around £100m ($140m) a year in sales of second-hand books and musty mink coats.

Now, however, Oxfam has been hit by allegations of sexual misconduct, at home and abroad. The charity’s gleaming reputation has been severely tarnished. Other aid agencies are also becoming embroiled in a story that adds fuel to a debate about Britain’s international-development work.
Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal unveiled abuses in Hollywood, the whirlwind has swept through politics, business and now, it seems, the aid industry. The claims against Oxfam are grave. The first to emerge was that after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010, its staff in Port-au-Prince paid for sex, including a “full-on Caligula orgy”, as one witness told the Times. Prostitution is illegal in Haiti, and some of the girls are said to have been under age (Oxfam says this claim has not been proven). Oxfam allowed three of the employees involved to resign and sacked four others for gross misconduct, but is alleged to have covered up the severity of their offences. The Charity Commission, the industry watchdog, has launched an inquiry.

Helen Evans, an Oxfam employee-turned-whistleblower, says that she repeatedly warned managers of a “culture of sexual abuse” in the charity’s offices overseas and its shops at home, but was not taken seriously enough. She reports one instance of aid being offered in return for sex.

Oxfam’s deputy chief executive, Penny Lawrence, who was in charge of the charity’s international programme when the Haiti behaviour was reported, resigned on February 12th. On the same day Mark Goldring, the charity’s boss, was hauled into the Department for International Development (DFID) to be told that Oxfam could forfeit over £30m of government money if it did not explain itself. The European Union, which gives Oxfam £29m, has demanded “maximum transparency”. The next day several of Oxfam’s corporate partners, including Visa and Marks & Spencer, said they were reviewing their links.

Similar allegations are now being made against other charities. Priti Patel, a former DFID secretary, has said the Oxfam case is the “tip of the iceberg”. This may sap confidence in the sector, which was already at its lowest-ever ebb in polls by the Charity Commission, which began in 2005. But the headlines may not affect the volume of giving, now £10bn a year. Daniel Fluskey of the Institute of Fundraising says that, despite the weak economy, giving has remained remarkably stable in recent years.

Proponents of Britain’s aid industry hope it will stay that way. For all Oxfam’s woes, experts like Owen Barder of the Centre for Global Development, a think-tank, argue that Britain’s aid is particularly effective and generally well-targeted. Oxfam may be bad at policing its staff, but, argues Dan Corry of New Philanthropy Capital, which assesses charities, it is one of the best at evaluating its projects.

As for the foreign-aid budget, the Oxfam affair has emboldened those on the Conservative right who want to end the commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on aid, which they consider extravagant at a time of austerity. But other Tories, such as Andrew Mitchell, a former DFID secretary, argue that development is one of the few areas in which Britain is a global leader, spending more than any country bar America and Germany. As the country retreats from the EU, it would be sad if that role, too, were relinquished.


The Guardian view on Oxfam: time to learn, not destroy
Mon 12 Feb 2018 18.22 GMT
The debauchery of the Haiti sex parties is outrageous. But it must not be allowed to overshadow the courage and compassion of thousands of aid workers, nor the value of aid itself

On 12 January 2010, a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti. One of the poorest countries in the world, it was utterly unprepared. Roads and bridges, hospitals and government buildings as well as thousands of homes collapsed or were severely damaged. At least 220,000 died – including more than 100 aid workers already in the country – and as many again were injured. Scores of aid agencies with hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of relief raced to bring help, each agency hastily recruiting hundreds of extra workers. Among these men and women of goodwill who were dispatched to organise medical help, to inoculate, feed and protect the thousands of vulnerable people were seven Oxfam employees who, it has now emerged, spent their time off procuring young, possibly underage, girls and women for sex. It is likely that some of their victims were reliant on the aid Oxfam provided, with donations collected on street corners and jumble sales in Britain. The enormity of employees of an organisation dedicated to ending poverty, hunger and social injustice hosting sex parties said to be of Caligulan proportions amid the wreckage of a humanitarian catastrophe is what turns a scandal into a crisis that could damage the whole UK charitable sector.

A year after the earthquake, in 2011, Oxfam’s head office was alerted by a whistleblower to the allegations. The charity then made two more serious errors of judgment. First, it played down the seriousness of the offences. The Charity Commission was told only that “serious misconduct” relating to abuse of power and bullying was being investigated. Later the Department for International Development was misled in the same way. As a result neither treated the report with the seriousness it required – and both are now rightly furious at the way they feel they were deliberately misled. DfID’s secretary of state, Penny Mordaunt, will want hard evidence of a transformed culture at the charity if it is to justify its £32m worth of contracts. The resignation of Penny Lawrence, Oxfam’s deputy chief executive and international project manager at the time of Haiti, is only a start.

The second mistake was to fail to prevent the four men who were sacked and the three required to resign from working in the sector again. As the Observer reported at the weekend, allegations about sex parties in Chad in 2006, four years before the Haiti earthquake, led to the sacking of one senior employee. Roland van Hauwermeiren, who resigned after the Haiti scandal emerged, was head of Oxfam in Chad at the time. Ms Lawrence cited the failure to act properly on the earlier allegations as a reason for her decision to leave.

Reputational harm is an existential threat to charities. It is not an accident that Oxfam has been caught out; it is the same mix of negligence and complacency that has exposed the Catholic and Anglican churches to similar disaster. After Haiti, Oxfam tightened its safeguarding processes. But this may well be the tip of the iceberg. One challenge for organisations working with children and vulnerable people is the acknowledged risk posed by sexual predators seeking out respectable cover for contact with their potential victims. Oxfam denies giving references to the employees sacked or allowed to resign after the Haiti allegations, but Mr Van Hauwermeiren went on to another senior job in Bangladesh working for a French charity, and another man involved is reported to have gone on to work with the Catholic aid charity Cafod. A central register of all aid workers employed by UK charities would at least stop employees who had been sacked or disciplined in earlier jobs faking references to get another.

What this crisis must not be allowed to do is undermine the case for generous aid spending as both a moral obligation and as pragmatic policy. The Oxfam case involves fewer men than can be counted on two hands. The courageous and dedicated efforts of thousands of its employees have saved millions of lives in the most gruelling and dangerous circumstances. They and their peers in other charities deserve the best defence. That means honesty and transparency, and a conspicuous determination to root out anyone who threatens their reputation for it.

Oxfam et al: Statements by NRC and WorldVision

Statement from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Deputy Secretary General, Geir Olav Lisle
Oslo, 15 February 2018
“The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has today suspended a member of staff pending a review of the case. This follows new information emerging about the termination of his earlier employment by Oxfam in 2011 in Haiti.

NRC staff were first alerted about the staff member’s dismissal from Oxfam in December 2016. Based on the information we had at that time about the reasons for his dismissal, because standard procedures had been followed in the recruitment process and there were no known misconduct concerns in his time with NRC, it was decided not to pursue the case further. In hindsight and based on new information about the case, we realise that this response was inadequate and that we should have explored the matter further. Consequently we are conducting a review of the recruitment process and safeguarding in this case. In addition we are also currently carefully reviewing our systems and procedures in order to identify areas that may need to be strengthened. Immediate measures are: Firstly, making it compulsory to directly ask candidates if they have ever been investigated or subject to disciplinary measures by previous employers. We will also document the answer to this question. Secondly, reinforcing due diligence in the recruitment process by improving analysis of CVs and expanding reference checks.

It is important to remember that around the world, dedicated and professional aid workers are delivering live-saving and crucial assistance to millions of people in need. NRC will continue to work to improve our prevention and response to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. We are dedicated to ensure the safety of both the people we are here to serve and our staff.”


Statement on inaccurate Haiti reports – World Vision
Saturday, February 17th 2018
The earthquake in Haiti was a tragedy for the hundreds of thousands of children and their families who lost everything. The nation was already the poorest and most fragile in the hemisphere. It was challenging time for aid workers who witnessed their loss and suffering, and were involved in trying to help them.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters and partners around the world, World Vision provided food to at least two million people, emergency shelters to more than 40,000 households, and potable water for more than 90,000 people. We set up more than 30 Child-friendly Spaces, provided cholera prevention and treatment for more than 300,000 people and operated 12 mobile and static health care clinics.

While we know we did not get everything right, the Mail on Sunday story in the UK and Ireland misrepresents our actions and omits key findings from our investigations, which we described publically, and which were shared with authorities, donors, and the Mail’s journalist, several years ago.

In our cash-for-work programme in 2010-11, several evaluations conducted by World Vision and our partners highlighted a number of issues in government-run camps; of nepotism, sexual exploitation and inaccurate record-keeping.

World Vision’s extensive investigations into these issues revealed that those involved in sexual exploitation were not World Vision staff. They were community volunteers and cash-for-work beneficiaries themselves.

Our commitment to strengthening and improving systems saw us report these issues back to authorities, and work with them to put training and follow-up procedures in place to cut down on these practices. This information has been publicly available in our published Accountability Reports from 2011, 2012 and 2014. We provided these reports and internal documents to the Mail on Sunday journalist, Ian Birrell as long ago as 2014.

We recognise that it is possible there may have been inappropriate behaviour by people employed by or associated with World Vision that went unreported. If that is the case, we encourage anyone who saw or experienced sexual exploitation or abuse to come forward, or to report it through our confidential Whistleblower Hotline, and we will do all we can to investigate (report online or call collect +1-503-726-3990).

We are sorry to anyone who feels let down by World Vision in any failure of ours to protect or report.

World Vision believes a better world for children is possible. Like other aid agencies, there are lessons coming out of the past week that we as an organisation are committed to taking on board and integrating into discussions with our partners in delivering aid to the world’s most vulnerable children.

CONCORD’s reaction to reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by NGO staff

CONCORD’s reaction to reports of sexual exploitation and abuse by NGO staff
Feb 13, 2018
In light of ongoing reports in the media of sexual exploitation and abuse by staff employed by NGOs in partner countries, CONCORD, the European Confederation of Relief and Development NGOs, wants to deliver the message:

CONCORD unreservedly condemns the actions, recently reported, of the individuals who were found guilty of sexual misconduct and abuse of power in Haiti and Chad in 2011 and 2006. CONCORD expresses its sympathy and solidarity with the victims. We expect those responsible to be held accountable for their actions.

CONCORD believes, as a representative of civil society development organisations in Europe, that our sector should have the highest standards of responsibility and accountability for its work. We should all reinforce prevention and redress mechanisms in the sector. We stand ready to work with our members, with donors and other relevant parties to do what is necessary to ensure those participating in development programmes and, in particular the most vulnerable, are protected.

The role of development cooperation and aid in the fight against poverty and for global justice remains as vital as ever. These actions cannot overshadow the important mission and values of development NGOs and the thousands of staff and volunteers dedicated to eradicate poverty and fight against all kinds of injustice.

InterAction Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse

InterAction Statement on Sexual Harassment and Abuse
Feb 12, 2018
InterAction, representing U.S. nongovernmental organizations operating around the world to advance the lives of people living in the poorest and most marginalized conditions, reiterates our firm commitment to fight discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse within our community. U.S. NGOs have an obligation to the populations we serve, our staff, our supporters and donors to embody the values for which we stand.

As recent media reports continue to demonstrate, international nonprofits are not immune from incidences of sexual harassment and abuse. We are firmly against sexual exploitation and abuse in all its forms. We have demonstrated this commitment before, advancing our long-standing efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by our own staff, through working on improved policies, procedures and structures that advance the protection of populations with whom we work. In 2006, working with the U.N., we embraced policies to address sexual exploitation and abuse based on a zero-tolerance approach.

Given recent events, we recognize that we must put additional initiatives in place. In late 2017, InterAction stood up a CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse that will work with our members to advance efforts to both eradicate harmful practices from amongst those who we employ, and to improve our support for survivors. We are exploring how we can fortify our policies and procedures to prevent sexual harassment and abuse, as we increase our transparency and accountability when incidences occur. This includes working as a collective to identify better practices that will ensure perpetrators are prevented from re-employment within the sector.

We will reinforce with concrete action our respective member organizations’ commitment to ensuring that our programs are implemented in a manner that ensures both the populations we seek to help, and our staff are treated with dignity and respect. The work that we do is too important to be jeopardized by anything less.

Lindsay Coates, President, InterAction
Carrie Hessler-Radelet, Co-Champion, InterAction CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse and President & CEO, Project Concern International (PCI)
Abby Maxman, Co-Champion, InterAction CEO Task Team on Sexual Harassment and Abuse and President & CEO, Oxfam America
Carolyn Miles, Chair, InterAction Board of Directors and President & CEO, Save the Children
Sam Worthington, CEO, InterAction