Minister calls for assurances from NGOs in wake of Oxfam allegations

International organisations funded by the Scottish Government have been asked to give assurances over their policies to protect the vulnerable.

It comes in the wake of the Oxfam sexual misconduct scandal.

The charity has been accused of concealing the findings of an inquiry into claims staff used prostitutes while delivering aid in Haiti in 2011.

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Oxfam's deputy chief executive has resigned, while the Charity Commission has launched a statutory inquiry into the organisation.

International Development Minister Alasdair Allan has written to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working abroad.

"The Scottish Government expects the highest moral and ethical standards from those we fund to provide services to those people and communities who look to our support at their time of greatest need," he wrote.

"We will not tolerate any form of human rights abuses or misconduct, wherever they take place.

"We expect our partner organisations wherever they are to monitor their work closely, and to be open, honest and transparent with us, and the public whenever there are any suggestions of abuse or malpractice."

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Mr Allan called on all government-funded NGOs to confirm "robust safeguarding policies" are in place to protect vulnerable groups, and that any specific incidents have been referred to the relevant authorities where necessary.

He added: "The Scottish Government recognises that the vast majority of those working in international development and humanitarian emergencies do so in a diligent and appropriate manner.

"However, the Scottish Government will not hesitate to take appropriate action whenever we suspect that any abuse has occurred, and we expect the same commitment from those working with us."