Thursday Feb 13, 2020
LONDON: Oxfam has said that it’s committed to zero tolerance of bullying and other misconducts after the charity confirmed that its Pakistan head Mohammad Qazilbash faced 11 allegations of bullying and harassment but continues to work in this role despite concerns from his employees.
The allegations reported against Mr Qazilbash include harassment, bullying subordinates, having an insulting attitude and violations of international guidelines. He is also accused of hiring unqualified staff to senior positions to pacify his personal relationships.
Oxfam has faced intense scrutiny in the past when it was revealed that its senior aid workers paid earthquake victims for sex in Haiti. The Charity Commission in the UK accused Oxfam of failing to deal with cases of harassment, bullying and discrimination in Britain. It also accused Oxfam of having an internal culture which tolerated poor behaviour in response to the Haiti scandal.
Oxfam’s central office here told The News, “We are committed to zero tolerance of bullying and other misconduct. This means that we do everything in our power to prevent such behaviour and take all allegations extremely seriously."
The press officer further shed more light into Mr Qazilbash's case by admitting that an allegation against him had been substantiated. “Where allegations are made – as they were in Pakistan – we investigate thoroughly. In this case, one of the allegations was partially substantiated and appropriate action in respect of the individual was taken. Measures were also put in place to strengthen the culture in the Pakistan country office and to provide additional training and support to all staff."
While it was previously stated that Mr Qazilbash had resigned from his role as Oxfam Country Head for Pakistan, sources reveal that he continues to work in this particular role.
Oxfam clarified this situation by exclusively revealing to The News that the recruitment process to replace Mr Qazilbash was ongoing and he would discontinue his services once a suitable replacement was found.
Mr Qazilbash had worked as Oxfam's country head for over four years and had previously served as a country director of Save The Children in China where similar complaints where made against his behaviour.
Oxfam has been suspended from bidding for new British aid contracts by the government after the Times revealed how its senior aid workers, including its country director in Haiati, had paid earthquake victims for sex in 2011.
The charity commission accused it of having an internal culture that tolerated poor behaviour in its response to the Haiti scandal and in failing to deal with the cases of harassment, bullying and discrimination in Britain.