23 staff members leave Red Cross over sexual misconduct

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, centre, speaks during a press conference in Jerusalem, September 7, 2017. (AP)

The International Committee of the Red Cross joins the list of prominent charities that have uncovered sexual misconduct among its staff.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said 23 staff members had left since 2015 over sexual misconduct, making it the latest humanitarian organisation to be affected by abuse allegations shaking the aid sector.

“Since 2015 we’ve identified 21 staff members who were either dismissed for paying for sexual services or resigned during an internal inquiry. Another two staff members suspected of sexual misconduct did not have their contracts renewed,” ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said in a statement published on Friday.

“I am deeply saddened to report these numbers,” Daccord said in the statement, adding the ICRC was taking action to make sure all incidents would be reported and handled properly.

The ICRC, which has more than 17,000 staff worldwide, bans its staff from paying for sexual services even in countries where prostitution is legal, it said.

Wave of allegations of sexual misconduct

The aid sector has been shaken by a wave of allegations of sexual misconduct.

Earlier this week, British charity Oxfam’s country director in Haiti admitted to using prostitutes at his residence during a relief mission.

The UN’ peacekeeping missions, agencies, funds and programmes as well as implementing partners have also been embroiled in sexual exploitation and abuse allegations, with the deputy head of the UN agency for HIV/AIDS becoming the latest official to leave.