Global Oxfam ambassador Annie Lennox has broken her silence on the scandal-hit charity and has vowed she will not quit her role
Global Oxfam ambassador Annie Lennox has broken her silence on the scandal-hit charity and has vowed she will not quit her role.
The Scottish singer, 63, has said she is ‘staying loyal to them’ as Oxfam GB was temporarily suspended in Haiti pending an investigation into how the charity handled the case of former staff paying for sex.
The former Eurythmics singer supported Oxfam’s Haiti appeal at the time, and has praised their ‘extraordinary work’ across the world.
‘From what I’ve understood, Oxfam did their best to respond, but clearly what they did or didn’t do was terribly flawed,’ she told The Sunday Times magazine.
‘They’ve admitted that, and now they need to be absolutely rigorous.’
She said the charity is often ‘the first to be there’ after a crisis.
Lennox said her women’s network, the Circle – founded with Oxfam’s help, would stop working with the charity if it does not improve.
‘It would be an absolute tragedy for millions of people across the world if Oxfam were no longer to function properly because their funding was cut,’ she added.
‘So I am not going to walk away from Oxfam because this has happened.’
Last month it emerged that Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, and six other senior staff members left their roles at Oxfam amid claims they had used prostitutes during an aid operation in earthquake-hit Haiti.
Since the allegations came to light, a number of celebrities and public figures have parted ways with the charity.
South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, British actress Minnie Driver and Senegalese singer Baaba Maal all quit their posts as Oxfam celebrity ambassadors in the wake of the abuse allegations.
Singer and Celebs Go Dating Star, Talia Storm, who had worked with the charity since 2016 also cut ties with them.
Annie Lennox launches the ‘I’m In’ Oxfam campaign at the Mound in Edinburgh, in 2014
Annie Lennox, Zoe Ball Beverley Knight and Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson launch Oxfam Curiosity Shop, second-hand clothes donated by celebrities, at Selfridges
The 19-year-old said she felt ‘shocked and disappointed’ following allegations that senior staff members paid for sex with locals in crisis zones.
Storm said she had ‘supported the charity since school but felt many young people would, like her, now feel reluctant to continue fundraising and donating to the charity.’
Making the revelation on politics TV show ‘Sam Delaney’s News Thing’, the singer revealed she ‘did not come to her decision lightly’ but felt the charity had neither acted soon enough nor been ‘apologetic enough’.
South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and British actress Minnie Driver quit their posts as Oxfam celebrity ambassadors
Singer Tallia Storm was the latest celebrity supporter to cut ties with Oxfam in the wake of its sex abuse scandal
When news of the allegations emerged, Minnie Driver quit her role as an Oxfam global ambassador citing the ‘abhorrent mistakes’ in relation to the sex scandal.
The 48-year-old actress, who was one of the charity’s 16 ambassadors, said she was ‘in no uncertain terms’ withdrawing her support.
The British star had worked with Oxfam for 20 years, donating a £72,000 lunch date to its 2008 Ebay auction.
‘I am nothing short of horrified by the allegations against Oxfam International,’ the Good Will Hunting actress said in a statement.
South African Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, British actress Minnie Driver and Senegalese singer Baaba Maal (pictured) all quit their posts as Oxfam celebrity ambassadors in the wake of the abuse allegations
Roland van Hauwermeiren, 68, (pictured) and six others left their roles at Oxfam amid claims they had used prostitutes during an aid operation in earthquake-hit Haiti
Archbishop Desmond Tutu also quit his role as an Oxfam ambassador.
In a statement, the 86-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, said: ‘The Archbishop is deeply disappointed by allegations of immorality and possible criminality involving humanitarian workers linked to the charity.’
This comes as the head of Oxfam issued an impassioned apology as she admitted she ‘cannot guarantee’ there are no sex offenders working for the organisation.