Safeguarding Within The EU

After the investigation of my accusations against my line manager by Oxfam and my dismissal was upheld the only other recourse I had to justice and a fair hearing was the law courts. However, there are considerable challenges to accessing justice not only in Nigeria but also in the U.K. and the EU. 

The Challenges 

  1. Jurisdiction 
  2. Finance
  3. Personal 
  4. Professional 

In order to over come these challenges I chose to appeal to the human in the humanitarian agency that I worked for. Since 2010 and I have been asking Oxfam GB to review my case.  each appeal has been denied. I have been stone walled and smeared and discredited. recently I found out that my personnel file was incomplete, vital document were missing. All the documents that disproved OGB’s assertion that I was dismissed based on performance. All the documents that may have provided some evidence of my performance are missing in the file that I received in reposes to a subject access request that I made in November 2017. 

Recommendations

  1. Jurisdiction – introducing global contracts and insisting that aid organisations are actively protecting workers rights and implementing best practices in international labour law
  2. Finance – legal aid is available in EU countries for victims of sexual assault and rape and to a lesser extent in the U.K. Reports of sexual assault in the workplace should immediately trigger a legal response. Donors should consider creating a legal defence trust fund that people who have experienced SEAH can access to pursue their legal claims. In addition a report of SEAh should immediately trigger legal advisory and counselling. 
  3. Personal  – pyscho-social support in the form of rape and sexual assault counselling and emotional psychological support to victims. Treating a sexual assault as a personal injury and doing the right thing by any employee/worker that experiences it rather than treating them as trouble makers that should be silenced and dismissed as soon as possible. 
  4. Professional – how do we protect whistle blowers? How do we ensure that offenders and not victims experience the consequences of reporting? The biggest challenge to workers sporting and or seeking legal redress is intimidation by big powerful corporations that spend more on lawyers and PR than they spend on safe guarding. take care of your workers. Do the right thing. Adopt best practices. 
  5. And last but not least how do we protect employee data that is held by the employer
  6. Define what ‘victim/survivor focus’ actually means. The term is too vague and does not place victims or survivors at the centre of safe guarding. 
  7. Legal research and policy development – a conference or workshop where stakeholders get together with lawyers and identify the legal rights of employees and the legal obligations of employers towards their employees. Build on an update the research and policy paper developed by Edward Kemp and Mercklebach in 2011. 

The EU and DFID should be applauded for their efforts so far but more remains to be done. It is not enough to make aid organisations show that they have systems in place for the prevention and detection of sexual exploitation and abuse. They must put some sort of measures in place to test whether theses systems are effective. Systems have been available and in lace since at least 2002. At the time of my assault and appeal the sexual harassment policy I used was prepared in 2007. Systems need to be tested. Intention needs to be tested. 

This is what makes my case unique and important. It provides a unique opportunity to test whether the organisations have committed to change and have changed because when they do they will change their response to me. if they can treat me who is public the way they have how have they treated the people that we do not know anything about? The anonymous ones. 

Until my case in particular is dealt with properly there will be no real accountability in the aid industry.

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