According to a report in the SonntagsZeitung on Sunday, the Swiss Foreign Affairs Ministry helped fund various projects coordinated by the British aid organisation, which is currently engulfed in a sexual exploitation scandal.
The Swiss taxpayer funding for Oxfam, amounting to CHF20.4 million ($26.5 million), supported projects in Chad, Iraq, Syria and in the Palestinian territories, the SonntagsZeitung reported.
In a statement to the German-language newspaper, the foreign affairs ministry said that its collaboration with Oxfam was “long-standing and positive”, which would make “a thorough investigation” into the sexual abuse allegation even more vital. It added that it would be too early to end cooperation with the organisation now.
Allegations of sexual misconduct by aid workers include claims that more than 120 Oxfam staff had engaged prostitutes – possibly underage – during the humanitarian crisis in Haiti in 2011 and that the charity had subsequently attempted to cover up the scandal.
The British government withdrew its funding for the aid organisation on Friday amid an escalation of the scandal, and more than 1,000 private direct debits supporting the charity were cancelled, as the British newspaper The Guardian reportedexternal link.