Statement from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Deputy Secretary General, Geir Olav Lisle

Published 15. Feb 2018|Updated 16. Apr 2018

Oslo, 16 April 2018

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has finalized the external review of a case where a current NRC staff member was dismissed by Oxfam GB in Haiti in 2011.

As a responsible employer it has been important for NRC to do a thorough and impartial review to ensure we have all the information possible in the case and to review the findings from the Oxfam report related to the current NRC employee. The employee has been suspended pending the review of the case.

NRC has engaged an independent investigator that has worked together with NRC's Head of Internal Audit and Quality Support. The team has reviewed the recruitment process and other aspects of the case.

The review team's findings did not support the allegations in the Oxfam report regarding sexual misconduct by the current NRC employee. Based on the findings and the employee's performance and conduct while working with NRC, we have decided to lift the suspension with immediate effect.

It is important to emphasize that NRC as a humanitarian actor and employer has zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, including harassment in any form.
At the same time, it is important to stress that we are also committed to treat our staff with fairness and justice.

NRC is currently carefully reviewing our internal systems and procedures to identify areas that may need to be strengthened.

NRC is committed to ensure the safety and protection of the victims and make it as easy as possible to report cases of harassment, sexual abuse and exploitation. We will continue to strengthen these mechanisms to ensure the safety of both the people we are here to serve and our staff.

Oslo, 15 February 2018

"The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has today suspended a member of staff pending a review of the case. This follows new information emerging about the termination of his earlier employment by Oxfam in 2011 in Haiti. 

NRC staff were first alerted about the staff member's dismissal from Oxfam in December 2016. Based on the information we had at that time about the reasons for his dismissal, because standard procedures had been followed in the recruitment process and there were no known misconduct concerns in his time with NRC, it was decided not to pursue the case further. In hindsight and based on new information about the case, we realise that this response was inadequate and that we should have explored the matter further. Consequently we are conducting a review of the recruitment process and safeguarding in this case. In addition we are also currently carefully reviewing our systems and procedures in order to identify areas that may need to be strengthened. Immediate measures are: Firstly, making it compulsory to directly ask candidates if they have ever been investigated or subject to disciplinary measures by previous employers. We will also document the answer to this question. Secondly, reinforcing due diligence in the recruitment process by improving analysis of CVs and expanding reference checks.

It is important to remember that around the world, dedicated and professional aid workers are delivering live-saving and crucial assistance to millions of people in need. NRC will continue to work to improve our prevention and response to sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment. We are dedicated to ensure the safety of both the people we are here to serve and our staff."