Oxfam has received 26 new allegations about abuse since the sexual exploitation scandal was exposed on February 9, MPs have been told.
Mark Goldring, the chief executive of the charity, told the Commons development committee on Tuesday morning the cases related to Oxfam’s operations both in the UK and abroad over an “extended period of time”.
He also revealed that 7,000 individuals have cancelled their regular donation to Oxfam over the last ten days while corporate sponsors are “reserving judgment.”
Speaking to MPs, Goldring apologised for having played down the accusations of sexual abuse in Haiti by Oxfam staff when he said at least they had not “murdered babies”.
“I do apologise. I was under stress, I’d given many interviews, I’d made many decisions to try to lead Oxfam’s response to this. I was thinking about amazing work I’ve seen Oxfam do across the world, most recently with refugees coming from Myanmar,” he said.
“I should not have said those things. It is not for Oxfam to judge issues of proportionality or motivation.
“I am sorry. We are sorry. For the damage Oxfam has done. Both to the people of Haiti, but also to wider efforts to aid and development by possibly undermining public support.”
Stephen Twigg, the Labour chairman of the committee, said Goldring’s comments to The Guardian were “grossly inappropriate”.
Goldring’s appearance in front of MPs came amid continuing anger over allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation by Oxfam staff responding to the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In his interview with The Guardian, Goldring said he had not slept for a week following the initial Times story which revealed the Haiti allegations against his charity.
He told MPs today: “I shouldn’t have put my own sleep, or lack of it, in the public domain.
“I have tried to balance work and sleep over the last two weeks. I am continuing to do my job and continuing to make appropriate decisions.
He added: “I hope I have led Oxfam competently but that’s for others to decide.”
Winnie Byanyima, the executive director of Oxfam International, also told the committee she was “sorry”.
“I am ashamed,” she said. “I have spent my life trying to stand up for women’s rights and fight for people living in poverty so this is painful for me.”
The development committee has announced it will now launch a “full inquiry” in to sexual exploitation in the aid sector.